The Laramie City Council's approval of a non-discrimination ordinance last night is being applauded by members of the LGBT community. According to Jeran Artery, a spokesman from Wyoming Equality, the decision is "a victory for Laramie and the entire state of Wyoming".

"The City Council showed tremendous leadership, picking up where the legislature left off," said Artery. "People from all over Wyoming are starting to organize. We already have a group in Cheyenne and I think communities across the state will eventually follow Laramie's lead."

Artery also discussed the impact that the legacy of Matthew Shepard has had on the state since his tragic death 17 years ago.

"I'm a fifth generation Wyoming native. When that happened, I was still a young man trying to find my own voice. I remember being terrified to come out until I saw that there was support for us. Matthew's story gave many of us to the courage to stand up for who were are. It continues to help that high school student in Wheatland or Sheridan who feels helpless and alone. It's taken us a long time to get where we are now. We still have a long way to go, but people are starting to see that this isn't a political issue; this isn't Republican versus Democrat; it's right versus wrong."

Artery also responded to Cheyenne Mayor Rick Kaysen's comments that a similar ordinance is unnecessary and would place an added burden on local businesses. "This won't change anything for businesses. All we want is to update the current laws to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the legal protections that are already in place for everyone else."


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