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Wyoming state Senate defeats LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination bill

Friday, February 1, 2013
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming State Senate on Thursday defeated a bill that would have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sponsor Sen. Chris Rothfuss (D-Laramie), called the measure is a civil rights issue, and said it was time “for Wyoming to take some steps forward on gay rights, on gender rights and issues.”

Wyoming state capitol in Cheyenne.

“The people of Wyoming are ready for this. They truly are,” said Sen. Cale Case (R-Lander) said.

“This is not a big deal anymore. We accept gays and lesbians, and different gender orientations. It’s all over. The battle’s all over,” said Case.

Opponents, however, said they were concerned the bill would make gays and lesbians a new protected class of citizens, a development that could lead to employment lawsuits.

The Senate voted 13-17 against the bill.

Sen. Curt Meier (R-LaGrange), said he questioned the need for such legislation.

“At the end of the day, I’m really curious as to whether we’re just looking for a problem that necessarily doesn’t need a solution,” Meier said.

Earlier this week, the state legislature killed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, and a bill that would have allowed same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships.

The marriage bill never made it out of committee, but the domestic partnerships bill died Wednesday after a lengthy debate on the House floor.

The floor debates in the House and Senate this week mark the first time, at least in recent decades, that pro-LGBT legislation has reached either floor.

Rothfuss said he was disappointed in the Senate vote but said he expects the issue will come back. “Obviously, the country’s moving that direction,” he said.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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