Cathy Connolly

Miles Bryan

Same sex marriage is now legal in Wyoming, which means same sex couples now have access to all the legal rights that come with marriage. Even so, some disparities remain. For one, Wyoming lacks any legal protection for LGBT people in employment. That means gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Cowboy State may be able to be legally married, but they may also be legally fired.

Same-sex marriage will probably soon be legal here in Wyoming. But gay people can still be fired simply for being gay.

While Wyoming has laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on age, sex, race, or national origin, the state has nothing on the books preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Laramie Representative Cathy Connolly has been leading the charge to change that. She says Wyoming’s equal employment opportunity office, which deals with workplace discrimination, can’t accept complaints dealing with sexual orientation.

Wyoming’s Joint Judiciary Legislative Committee has voted to support a bill that would allow for execution by firing squad, but voted down an attempt to abolish the death penalty altogether. 

States nationwide are being forced to find alternatives to executions now that drugs for lethal injections are hard to come by. Abolishing the death penalty altogether generated considerable debate. Baggs Senator Larry Hicks says the death penalty provides justice for victims. 

But Laramie Representative Cathy Connolly says the issue is greater than that.

The Joint Education Committee wrapped up two days of meetings talking about everything from improving Native American education to better uses of technology in the classroom.  

Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson   says lawmakers have had some distractions in recent months with the controversy surrounding Superintendent Cindy Hill, but he says they are moving forward with some good ideas.

“If we are not doing it, at least we are starting to lay some framework and some discussion and open people’s minds to the idea of new options and new alternatives.”

State Representative Cathy Connolly of Laramie has drafted legislation that would give gay couples the same rights as spouses in Wyoming. 

Connolly says if the bill is passed, couples will be able to register at county clerks offices to become official domestic partners.

“What it does is allow for any place in our statutes where the term ‘spouse’ is used, that members of the domestic partnership have equal rights, duties, benefits and obligations as spouses,” she said.

The bill would also apply to unmarried heterosexual couples.