SHERIDAN — Sheridan City Council members will consider a nondiscrimination resolution Monday night without language regarding LGBT, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Dawn Sopron and Brad Mohrmann presented a draft resolution to the council in August, but the revised resolution on the table for Monday’s regularly scheduled council meeting eliminates key phrasing included in the draft.
City officials removed the wording, “Whereas, in today’s world, discrimination also occurs based upon gender identity and sexual orientation.” They also replaced “we affirm the right of LGBT citizens to live free of discrimination in all of its forms” with “we affirm the right of all citizens in Sheridan to live free of discrimination.”
Sopron and Mohrmann met with the mayor, city administrator and Sheridan City Councilor Thayer Shafer Thursday to discuss the changes and work on a compromise.
“We did propose two options for them to consider, keeping in mind their reticence,” Sopron said in an email.
The suggestions center around the final paragraph of the resolution, which states, “…it is the policy of the City to reject discrimination of any kind and to respect the inherent worth of every person, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, handicap, sex, age, gender, veteran status, or political affiliation.”
The first option proposed would add sexual orientation into the final paragraph of the resolution.
“This was actually Councilor Shafer’s idea and Brad expressed his strong preference for it, but the mayor did not seem too keen on it,” Sopron said.
The other option Sopron suggested was to remove the list in the final paragraph but instead end it at “respect the inherent worth of every person.”
“My thinking was that removing the laundry list of federally protected groups, which is clearly excluding LGBT, was better than keeping the list with the obvious exclusion,” Sopron said.
Mayor Roger Miller emphasized the need for language that represented all members of the community and not go backward on nondiscrimination by singling out one particular group.
“Still, we’re making a statement to the community saying that we believe that discrimination’s not good,” Miller told The Sheridan Press.
Miller said he feels the proposed resolution, which will be the first of its kind for the city, remains strong, fits the majority and still addresses the issue of discrimination against citizens.
“Effectively, the language that’s in it is the language that was put forth to us, we just made it more uniform to everybody and not just specific to one group,” Miller said of the changes.
Resolutions around the state that reflect language similar to the draft proposed in August have been proposed by some with the hope of engaging state legislators in similar conversations. Laramie is the only municipality in Wyoming that passed an ordinance, which holds legal power, rather than a resolution.
Discussions surrounding the resolution in Sheridan will take place following the voting in of two new council members at Monday’s meeting. The two new members will not be sworn into council until the November meeting, meaning they will not participate in the vote to pass the nondiscrimination resolution. The meeting will be broadcast live through the city of Sheridan’s website starting at 7 p.m.