News (USA)

Jackson, Wyo., mayor says she’s pushing LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination measure

Sara Flitner
Sara Flitner Facebook

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The mayor of Jackson is pushing an ordinance to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and says she expects to have a public hearing on it in coming weeks.

Jackson Mayor Sara Flitner said Thursday she plans to hold a public workshop to allow town councilors and the public to speak to the issue. If a council majority agrees, it would then head to a formal council vote.

“We are really just following in the footsteps of Laramie municipality and exploring supporting their efforts and leadership in this arena,” Flitner said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The Laramie City Council in May passed an ordinance outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and access to public facilities such as restaurants.

The Laramie ordinance drew praise from gay activists around the country. The community’s reputation had been scarred by the killing of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, 17 years ago.

The Wyoming Legislature defeated a proposed statewide anti-discrimination measure early this year. Supporters say they intend to bring it up again.

Flitner, who took office in January, said she had been considering the anti-discrimination ordinance before last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the rights of same-sex couples around the country to get married.

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Flitner said she welcomed the court ruling. “I just don’t understand how I would suffer from having a more fair, civil and equality minded policy on the books,” she said.

Outlawing discrimination in Jackson will benefit residents and visitors alike, said Flitner, who runs a communications strategy business.

“Like lots of companies who just really are focused on their customers, I think our customers are both our local residents and taxpayers and also our visitors,” Flitner said. “The data is in: It’s pretty clear that customers want fairness, they want to do business in a fair environment. They largely support these kinds of anti-discrimination measures.”

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