LGBT People In Wyoming Still Lack Protections, Study Finds

Sep 25, 2017

Credit The Williams Institute

Gays and lesbians in Wyoming can be discriminated against when it comes to employment and housing. Wyoming has a non-discrimination law, but it does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. According to a recent study by the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law, that leaves more than 15,000 LGBT residents vulnerable.

Since the late 1990s, there have been legislative efforts to pass an anti-bias bill in the state but none have been successful. Senate Vice President Michael Von Flatern has supported past legislation, but said efforts have quieted down in recent years.

“Well, I think the Supreme Court Ruling, which would have been between now and then, on same-sex marriage would have taken some of it out, some of the steam or the reason to push it today,” said Von Flatern. “And that’s really the only thing that has changed.”

Von Flatern added he’s not aware of any proposed legislation for 2018.

“I think we’re probably trying to watch for actual evidence of somebody being discriminated against so we could bring it forward as a good anecdote to the story, and/or legal precedence. But since I have not personally heard of any recently so nobody is bringing the bill,” said Von Flatern.

The UCLA report included a survey of LGBT people in Wyoming, and found that 29 percent of respondents reported being discriminated against in employment opportunities, 20 percent said they had been terminated from a job because of their identity, and 17 percent had experienced housing discrimination.

Some towns like Jackson and Laramie have adopted non-discrimination ordinances to cover the legal gap.