The Chairman of the Laramie County Republican Party says a non-discrimination ordinance which is expected to come before the Cheyenne City Council is unneeded and would violate the free speech rights of Cheyenne residents.

City Councilmen Richard Johnson and Scott Roybal say they are working on a proposal to protect the rights of Cheyenne LGBTQ residents. Roybal and Johnson say such a law is needed to prevent discrimination in housing, employment, and accommodations because LGBTQ people are not currently protected by local, state or federal law.

But Darin Smith, who is a Cheyenne attorney, disputes that argument. He says current federal law clearly protects LGBTQ people from discrimination, adding any form of discrimination is also a violation of the Wyoming Constitution.

Smith says another problem with the ordinance is that there is no evidence discrimination against LGBTQ people is happening in Cheyenne, adding that he personally hasn't heard of any such cases.

Smith says when Houston, Texas enacted a similar law, it was used as a "trojan horse" by left-wing political activists who tried to use it to censor Christian clergy during their Sunday sermons. But he says that strategy backfired when the courts ruled the law to be an obvious violation of the First Amendment and voters overwhelmingly supported repealing the law in an election on the issue.

Smith also says the ordinance would potentially open the door to widespread lawsuits as people who had lost their jobs try to use the law to get back at their former employers.

Smith says the bottom line is that the ordinance is an attempt to control free speech and free thought.


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