ADL “Deeply Disappointed” by Defeat of Wyoming Anti-discrimination Bill

  • February 27, 2015

In a letter to the Editor of the Casper Star Tribune, Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Regional Director Scott L. Levin wrote:




We were deeply disappointed to read that the Wyoming House failed to pass a bill that would have provided critical protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Wyoming residents and their families. We were even more dismayed that some lawmakers relied on old, tired arguments that protecting all Wyoming residents from discrimination would somehow infringe upon their religious rights.


For more than a century, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has been an ardent advocate of religious freedom for all Americans. Religious freedom is important and so is ensuring that every Wyoming resident can live free and openly without fear of discrimination in the workplace, schools or other public accommodations simply for who they are.


Those who discriminate against marginalized groups have long relied on arguments grounded in religion to justify their discrimination. Time and again, however, society has come to see such discrimination as a stain on the Nation’s history and to view the religious justifications offered for it as wrong, both spiritually and philosophically.


The Star-Tribune’s article on the bill’s demise indicated that the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services has received about 40 complaints of discrimination and violence during the past four years from gay and transgender individuals. Representative Marti Halverson said that 10 complaints a year borders on anecdotal. Her statement is a deep insult and continued victimization of those who have suffered discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The reality is that there are likely many more cases of discrimination that go unreported due to fear of reprisal. And, there are many cases of discrimination that go unreported precisely because Wyoming does not have a law protecting LGBT residents from discrimination.


We are encouraged by the many legislators who stood up for this common sense legislation. We hope the Wyoming Legislature finds its way to pass these critical protections soon.


Scott L. Levin

Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region