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.
“Something that Wyoming does very well is that we invest in our children," she said. "And one of the things that we got points for across the board for this municipality index was that we have policies that enumerate protections for LGBTQ kids in anti-bullying in the schools.”
Burlingame argues more state and municipal policies that guarantee LGBTQ rights would help attract businesses to the state.
“If we're trying to get big companies to come in and invest with us, this is one of the things they look for,” Burlingame said. “It’s hard to tell folks to come and move their families to a state, if they are members of the LGBT community and these laws aren't in place.”
Laramie is the only town in Wyoming to have passed a non-discrimination ordinance, although Gillette, Douglas, and Jackson have all passed resolutions discouraging discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Cheyenne’s city council will vote on a similar resolution Monday.