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Wyoming lawmakers see movement on gay issues more than 14 years after Matthew Shepard's death

Here's an interesting article about political movement in the state of Wyoming, more than 14 years after the death of gay icon Matthew Shepard of Casper, WY.

Shepard was tortured and murdered while a student at University of Wyoming in Laramie in October 1998. Eleven years later, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law on Oct. 28, 2009.

-- Steve Rothaus

BY BEN NEARY, ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- To say merely that Wyoming is a conservative state doesn't begin to capture it.

Republicans hold nearly every elected office. Lawmakers squirrel away much of the revenue from the state's mineral wealth in a multi-billion-dollar savings account they can't touch without voters' OK. And gun ownership and hunting are as much a part of a cherished way of life as are ranching and rodeo.

And so, it was remarkable in the legislative session that started in early January when a handful of Republicans supported two measures that might seem more at home in liberal California.

While bills to permit same-sex civil unions and a ban on discrimination against gays made it out of committee, they went down in votes in the full House and Senate. That they even got that far was seen by many as a sign of how the shifting national attitude toward gay rights is affecting views in red states such as Wyoming.

Click here to read more.

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