A bill that would protect gay, lesbian, and transgender people from being discriminated against in the workplace and in other locations was approved by the House Health, Labor, and Social Services Committee on Friday.
It was standing room only for the entire two hour hearing as people lined up to give testimony. The Wyoming Pastor’s Network came out in force against the bill.
"I think people misjudge how central to a man’s religious convictions are his views of sexuality," said Pastor Tim Moyer of Thayne. "To force him to practice in opposition to that conscious is to violate the core of his being."
The Wyoming Pastor’s Network, along with the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, argued that the bill’s religious exemptions were not enough to keep it from being an undue burden.
Speaking for the bill were business and labor leaders including the Wyoming Petroleum Association, the AFL CIO, and the Wyoming Restaurant and Lodging Association. They said that a lack of workplace protections for LGBT people limited Wyoming businesses’ capacity to grow and recruit.
"I encourage you to pass this bill," said Dave Teubner with the Cheyenne advertising business Warehouse 21. "It's just good business."
A number of amendments broadening and detailing the religious exemptions were added to the bill. Discussion remained civil until near the end, when Cheyenne Representative Harlan Edmond attempted to introduced an amendment that would change the bill's effective date from July to "when hell freezes over."
The bill now heads to the House floor.