The Sheridan City Council passed a non-discrimination resolution, though it lacked any protections for or language referencing LGBT people.
In Wyoming, it remains legal to fire, evict or refuse service to anyone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, so some communities have taken to addressing the issue locally. Wyoming Equality’s Sara Burlingame said that was the idea in Sheridan, and her organization helped put together a resolution. That draft did include gender identity and sexual orientation, but some residents opposed those protections, so another version was introduced by Mayor Roger Miller without them.
Burlingame said even if the original draft of the resolution had passed, it still would not have offered any legal teeth, since unlike ordinances, resolutions are not legally binding.
“It’s just a statement of value, saying, ‘hey, we understand that members of the LGBT community add to the economy and the culture of our community, and we believe that you should be welcomed, and you should be protected here,’” said Burlingame. “And even that was too high a bar, and I find that intensely disappointing after the hard work the folks in Sheridan did.”
Burlingame said the lack of statewide protections hurts the state, and in some less obvious ways.
“Not all the harm is physical assault, or being fired or evicted. A huge amount of the harm is the business we can’t attract, because we don’t have non-discrimination, or the young people that we lose because we lack a culture that supports them, or supports their friends,” said Burlingame.
Mayor Roger Miller did not respond to Wyoming Public Radio’s request for an interview. The council passed the resolution unanimously.