Keep the Equality State equal

— Marci Shaver

To the Editor:

The 2022 Legislature of The Equality State failed to live up to that billing, bringing forward numerous bills to reduce, limit, or strip rights from citizens they supposedly serve. Fortunately most of those bills were defeated, thus preserving the rights of citizens — everyone, that is, except women of child-bearing age. They were eager to strip those rights away in the expectation that the Supreme Court will make it a states’ issue.

The very fact that such bills are presented is evidence of the extreme danger our democracy is now in. Democracies become more inclusive over time, recognizing more and more the rights of marginalized citizens to fully participate in the democratic process. Authoritarian minded legislators, however, seek to prohibit, limit, reduce, or completely strip rights of citizens they deem not worthy of full rights of citizenship. 

In the last 50 years we have seen numerous democracies — Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela, for example — tumble into authoritarianism, begun by the passing of laws designed to marginalize the undesirables while aligning with religion. Those who study in that field have been sounding warnings in the United States for at least a decade, warnings which have only got louder in the past five years. As amply demonstrated this session, our legislature is now highly infected with such an attitude, eager to make us the rugged cowBOY state, not the EQUALity state.

Look carefully at who brought forward these bills, and the co-sponsors. Ponder deeply how you would feel if they were aimed at your group, your children, or your spouse. People fled the state this year as soon as the bills were admitted out of fear of losing freedoms. What will you do when they go after you and yours? 

If you think it’s important that the rights of all Wyoming citizens are deserving of our protection, vote those legislators out. Run against them, show the state what they are willing to do, what they brag about doing. Or get out there and work to elect people who believe in democracy and keeping the equality in the Equality State.



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