Press Release – Wyoming State Representatives Cheri Steinmetz, Sue Wilson and Nathan Winters announced plans Thursday to withdraw consideration of House Bill 135, the Government Non-Discrimination Act.
HB 135 aimed to protect the peaceful exercise of religious beliefs and adherence to moral convictions for people of all faiths without diminishing the rights of any other group. With only a forty day legislative session, the bill was withdrawn to give Wyoming citizens time for more thorough consideration. The bill supporters remain committed to safeguarding the free expression of religion with legislation that better accomplishes this goal.
“The intention of this bill has always been to hold Wyoming to the highest standard in terms of equal protection under the law,” said Rep. Steinmetz. “The religious freedoms guaranteed to each and every one of us are the bedrock on which our Constitution is founded. When these unalienable rights are threatened, so to is every other constitutional right we enjoy.”
“Equality and the protection of religious freedoms are not mutually exclusive,” said Rep. Winters. “It is not a zero sum game. Discrimination is not what our faith or values teach us. We must find a balance among our laws, ensuring both our First Amendment right to practice and live our faith each day while practicing tolerance and respect for the rights of our fellow man.”
“My goal, and what I hope is the goal of every Wyoming individual, is to balance the rights of all of our citizens,” said Rep. Wilson. “We all need to continue this important conversation.”