The below email was just sent to our members in Wyoming. If you have friends or family in Wyoming please send this to them and urge them to take action to support the three LGBT equality bills NCLR is working on with our friends at Wyoming Equality.
NCLR is working hand in hand with our friends at Wyoming Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, and other supporters to pass the first-ever LGBT equality bills in Wyoming—The Equality State. Three bills—marriage equality, domestic partnership, and non-discrimination—have just been introduced, and the first committee votes are only days away.
At noon on Monday, January 28, the House Corporations Committee will hear testimony on the marriage equality and domestic partnership bills. If one or both pass committee, they will proceed to a vote by the entire House of Representatives a few days later. On Wednesday, Jan 30, at 8 a.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on the non-discrimination bill.
The votes will be extremely close and we need you, your friends, and your family to help secure a historic victory.
This is what you can do:
1. Call and email your representatives and ask them to support all three bills. You can use the bullet points below as a guide, but it is always best to personalize your message, explain why the bills are important to you, and why you believe they are good for Wyoming. Contact information for your representatives can be found here, and contact information for your state senator can be found here.
2. Call and email members of the House Corporations Committee and ask them to vote in favor of the marriage equality and the domestic partnership bills that they will consider on Monday. If you live in a district represented by one of the committee members, be sure to let them know. If you don’t live in one of their districts, let them know you are a resident of Wyoming. Committee members, including a link to their contact information, are:
Madam Chairwoman Rosie Berger • Rep. Gregg Blikre • Rep. Dan Kirkbride • Rep. Jerry Paxton • Rep. Gerald Gay
Rep. James (Jim) Byrd • Rep. Matt Greene • Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff • Rep. Dan Zwonitzer
3. Call and email members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote in favor of the non-discrimination bill on Wednesday. If you live in a district represented by one of the committee members be sure to let them know. If you don’t live in one of their districts, let them know you are a resident of Wyoming. The members of the committee with a link to their contact information are:
Sen. John Schiffer • Sen. Bruce Burns • Sen. Leland Christensen • Sen. Floyd Esquibel 8 Sen. Larry Hicks
4. If you live in or near Cheyenne, please join NCLR’s Senior Legislative and Policy Strategist Geoff Kors at the Capitol on Monday and Wednesday for the hearings. You can also stop by the capitol and explain to your representative why these bills are important for you, your family, and the people you care about.We have the very real opportunity to make critical progress for LGBT people in Wyoming and, with your help, victory is within reach.Together, we will continue making history!House Bill Number 0168 - Domestic Partnerships Rights & Responsibilities
- Presently, domestic partners have no rights under Wyoming law. H.B. No. 0168 will provide these families numerous rights including the ability to make health care decisions, funeral arrangements, and handle the remains of their deceased partner. H.B. No. 0168 will instead treat everyone equally and fairly under the law.
- H.B. No. 0168 provides domestic partners not only rights, but also responsibilities, ensuring that their families and taxpayers are protected. For example, H.B. No. 0168 will help ensure that children are provided for by both parents in a domestic partnership, protecting children and saving taxpayers money.
- H.B. No. 0169 supports Wyoming’s tradition of small government, which reserves the right to choose a marriage partner to residents of the state, without government influence.
- Every gay or lesbian person is part of someone’s family—someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister, cousin, aunt or uncle. A significant number of Wyoming residents have a gay or lesbian family member, and no one ever wants a member of their family to be disrespected or mistreated just because of who they are.
- In Wyoming, we are taught to treat others the way we want to be treated, and that means treating every member of our community with dignity and respect. We should embrace and love our neighbors, and that includes gay and lesbian members of our state who want nothing more than to be treated with the same dignity and respect that we give others.
- Leading businesses in the US already support non-discrimination. Businesses across the United States, including 50% of Fortune 500 companies and 75% of Fortune 100 companies, have adopted policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- S.F. No. 0131 extends existing protections to a vulnerable group. Wyoming already has civil rights laws protecting against many forms of discrimination including race, religion, gender, disability and national origin. An inclusive law puts LGBT Wyomingites on the same footing as others in the state.
- Even though lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are a distinct minority, they deserve equal rights and protection against discrimination. The fact that a group is in the minority, no matter how small, is not a reason to deny them equal rights.