Laramie Passes State's First Gay Protection Measure

Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming town
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2015 9:54 PM CDT
Updated May 14, 2015 12:23 AM CDT
Laramie Passes State's First Gay Protection Measure
This undated photo provided by the Matthew Shepard Foundation shows Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was murdered in Laramie, Wyo., in 1998.    (Matthew Shepard Foundation via AP)

(Newser) – The Laramie City Council has approved a local anti-discrimination ordinance in the college town where Matthew Shepard's death triggered nationwide sympathy and brought a re-examination of attitudes toward gays 17 years ago. The council voted 7-2 Wednesday night in favor of the measure that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, and access to public facilities such as restaurants. The measure is the first such nondiscrimination ordinance to pass in Wyoming, which is nicknamed the "Equality State," the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

Local organizers focused their efforts on Laramie after the legislature repeatedly rejected anti-discrimination bills, most recently early this year. The Laramie Nondiscrimination Task Force presented a draft ordinance to the city council last summer. Shepard, a gay university student, was murdered in Laramie in 1998, and his death became a rallying point in the gay rights movement. Congress has passed hate crimes legislation bearing his name. (The NBA's first openly gay player chose the jersey number 98 to honor Shepard.)

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