Controversial Religious Rights Bill Withdrawn

Jan 26, 2017

Representative Cheri Steinmetz
Credit LSO

The House sponsors of a controversial piece of legislation say they will remove House Bill 135 from consideration.

The bill was called the Government Nondiscrimination Act and was aimed at protecting business owners and employees from being punished or sued for not serving or selling to gay people because of moral or religious beliefs. It also trumped local ordinances that protected gay and transgender people.

In a statement, Representatives Cheri Steinmetz, Sue Wilson, and Nathan Winters say they withdrew the bill to give Wyoming citizens time for more thorough consideration of the issue. Steinmetz said the bill was intended to protect constitutional rights. Winters said in his statement that equality and protection of religious freedoms are not mutually exclusive.

Wilson said that she wants to balance the rights of all individuals and wants the conversation to continue. 

Editorials and citizens were critical of the legislation that was similar to legislation the House passed two years ago. A bill that would attempt to prevent discrimination was introduced this week in the Senate.