Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wyoming Senate Committee Says Yes to Its Own 'Add the Words' Bill

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 10:16 AM

click to enlarge WYOMING STATEHOUSE
  • Wyoming Statehouse
Less than a week after an Idaho legislative committee shut down the Add the Words measure, a Wyoming legislative committee has voted to approve its own bill that would extend anti-discrimination protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the the Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 to approve the measure after voting down an amendment that would have strengthened exceptions for religious institutions. The bill heads to the full Senate for debate and consideration. Supporters of the amendment said they're still optimistic that they'll be able to add more exceptions to the bill to include charities, religious-based hospitals and nonprofits. 

However, a spokeswoman with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services said such broad exemptions could make it difficult for the agency to investigate allegations of discrimination.

"It allows a variety of different types of employers to then assert that as a defense to an allegation of discrimination," said Cherie Doak, of the department, arguing that the exemption language "would enable some less-scrupulous companies to fire people they don't like."

Jeran Artery, of the group Wyoming Equality, told Wyoming Public Media, "It's time to update the statutes to include sexual orientation and gender identity, so we're very excited."

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