Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender persons face discrimination at school, on the job, and in their own family lives. LGBTQ people are more likely than their peers to be harassed at school, to be the victims of violent hate crimes, to be turned down for employment, to be fired, and even ostracized from their own religious communities.
On October 7, 2014, four same-sex couples (two of whom were Casper PFLAG members) and Wyoming Equality filed a lawsuit in federal court, Guzzo v. Mead, asking for an immediate order to end the state’s denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples. Three of the couples had earlier initiated a lawsuit in state court and the fourth had just been denied a marriage license.
They are represented by private attorneys and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled for the plaintiffs on October 17 and stayed enforcement of his ruling until 5 pm MDT on October 23 or until the defendants have informed the court that they will not appeal to the Tenth Circuit, whichever is first. Governor Matt Mead’s office released a statement that the state will decline to appeal the ruling and notified the court on October 21 of that decision, at which point the judge lifted his stay and same-sex couples began obtaining marriage licenses. Wyoming is also required to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.
On June 26, 2015 in Obergefell v. Hodges, the United States Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling required all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the Insular Areas to perform and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples on the same terms and conditions as the marriages of opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities.
In Wyoming, there are no state laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Jackson and Laramie have anti-discrimination ordinances that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2018 the Casper PFLAG chapter successfully introduced a resolution to the Casper city Council prohibiting discrimination based on sexual identity and gender orientation in city employment. A similar resolution was passed in Gillette.
There is Still Work to be Done Discrimination against LGBTQ persons still exists today, and continues to makes their lives difficult. Many of us parents and friends feel the need to speak out on behalf of our children and friends who are unjustly deprived of basic human and civil rights. That’s why advocacy is an important part of PFLAG’s mission. Join us today.
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