discrimination

Over the past few months, we’ve been looking at the housing crisis on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The shortage of homes there—and the lack of funding to build more--has led to overcrowding and homelessness. Many Native Americans are often forced to find rentals in border communities off the reservation. Even there they still struggle to find places to live because of racial discrimination.

Human Rights Campaign

Wyoming’s cities rank below the national average in protections for LGBTQ residents, according to new ratings from the Human Rights Campaign.  

The group scored hundreds of cities across the nation in their Municipal Equality Index, giving points for non-discrimination laws, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits and other policies.

Despite the low ratings, Sarah Burlingame of the advocacy group Wyoming Equality says there is growing support for LGBTQ rights around the state.

Jennifer Becker

At a recent school board meeting, Laramie High School senior Rihanna Kelver showed up to tonight’s school board meeting with a call to action.

“I am asking that the Board take initiative now to protect these students,” Kelver says. “As soon as we lose a student by the 50 percent rate suicide that transgender youth face, the blood will be on our hands.”

Aaron Schrank

Jane Juve makes her morning rounds through the same building where she served as Riverton’s city attorney two decades ago. Now she’s the Riverton Police Department’s new ‘community relations ombudsman.’

“If you feel like your civil rights have been violated, you’re more than welcome to come to my office in city hall,” Juve says.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming Senate has given final approval to a bill that provides protections to gay and transgender people in the workplace.

Despite some minor opposition that it takes away rights from the business sector, the Senate overwhelmingly supported the bill 24 to 6. Cody Republican Hank Coe says it’s not a bill the Senate would have considered 15 years ago.

“Time has changed. This is 2015, we need to step up and do what we need to do and we need to pass this bill. Discrimination in the workplace, that’s what this bill is about, is just wrong.”

The Wyoming Senate continues work on a bill that is intended to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace. 

Much of the debate centered on whether the private business sector should be exempted from the legislation.

Lander Senator Cale Case says he opposes discrimination, but says the bill goes too far.

“But you can’t tell people who they should hire and who they shouldn’t in their private business. And I go back and I say it’s a stupid idea that you would discriminate on this basis. But liberty includes the right to be stupid.”

The Wyoming Senate gave initial approval to a bill that would extend the state anti-discrimination protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.  The Senate started work on language to expand exemptions for religious charities, religious non-profits and groups such as the Boy Scouts.  Senator Dave Kinskey says they are trying to strike a balance.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has given approval to a bill that bans discrimination for gender identity and sexual orientation in the workplace and a variety of other areas. 

The committee voted 4 to 1 to support the bill after voting down an amendment that tried to strengthen the exception for religious institutions. Sheridan Senator Dave Kinskey says he supports the bill, but notes that some religious organizations have concerns.

Dawn Ballou

Thanks to the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, Native American tribes now have more legal tools than ever before. That’s according to a speaker at a conference on Monday hosted by the University of Wyoming American Indian Studies Program.

Wyoming State Capitol

The State Senate defeated a bill that would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  It would have given gays and lesbians protections in the workplace.  Opponents said it could have led to unfair burdens on employers and infringe on religious freedoms.  Senator Chris Rothfuss says he’s sorry that the bill would be inconvenient for certain employers, but he added that was the point.  But Baggs Senator Larry Hicks says the legislation would do little.