Laramie Wy. passed an anti-discrimination ordinance last night, the state’s first, despite dire warnings doing so would decrease property values.
The ordinance which includes public accommodations provisions is especially significant being that Mathew Sheppard was brutally murdered there some seventeen years ago.
Huffpost reports that Judy Shepard, Matt Shepard’s mother, is active in a Denver-based foundation that bears her son’s name and focuses on equality issues.
“I’m thrilled that Laramie’s doing it, at the same time sort of saddened that the state of Wyoming can’t see fit to do that as well,” Shepard told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C., Wednesday before the council vote. “Maybe the rest of Wyoming will understand this is about fellow human beings and not something that’s other than what they are.”
“Shepard said some people are still under the misconception that what happened to her son is typical of what happens in Wyoming.”
As an athlete from the midwest, I used to pass through Laramie Wy weekly, making use of the high altitudes to train by running the back byways around Laramie. One day a few years ago while out on such a run, I couldn’t but help notice how silently the wind moves through the landscape exponentially amplifying the solitude of landscape.
That reflection was abruptly shattered as a pickup truck of youths came screaming by nearly hitting me. Sitting in the ditch staring at a cattle fence and listening to their fading yells of faggot it occurred to me how desperate Mathew Sheppard was as he was savagely murdered not long before that day.
It also became personal as I realized I could have been the next victim. I mean who would have known? Back then, who would have even cared?
So this is truly a momentous achievement for all LGBT people. One person testified against the ordinance warning that it would lower property values.