Most of this readership who reside in Wyoming know that there is presently a bill (SF 0115) making its way through the Wyoming legislature regarding expansion of our anti-discrimination laws. You may click on the bill above to read the bill in its present form. It essentially is adding sexual orientation and gender identity to groups already protected from discrimination by state anti-discrimination law. Though the bill does include a religious exemption, it also limits constitutional rights to religious freedom for religious institutions and especially businesses owned and operated by people of faith.
As many of you know, our opposition to this bill has been severely criticized. I wish to share with you the statement I had read before the Labor Committee today during the time for public testimony before the Committee passed the bill by a 6-2 vote (with one absent member of the committee not voting.)
The bill now goes to the entire House of Representatives for reading and vote. Please continue to pray for all of our elected officials, that they will respect and defend religious liberty.
Here is my statement:
Members of the Labor Committee,
Thank you for all of your work on this very important decision regarding SF 0115. Please allow me to share a few brief thoughts.
As the Bishop of Cheyenne, I wish to state clearly that as Church, we embrace all people, and we desire to walk a journey of faith with any who invite us into their lives. One of our primary teachings is that every person is created in the image and likeness of God. For this reason, all life is sacred and bears an inherent dignity. We respect the dignity of every person. If this bill were simply about anti-discrimination, we would give it our full support, because we teach and believe that discrimination is wrong.
However, this bill as presently written poses serious threats to constitutional protections of religious liberty, for churches, faith institutions, and businesses run by people of faith. As Church and people of faith, we do not seek to impose our teachings on anyone. And we ask the Government to honor our constitutional rights to not have others impose their beliefs or practices upon us, especially by force of law.
Thank you again for your wise attention to the concerns we raise about SF 0115.