- Associated Press - Sunday, November 22, 2015

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - The Jackson Town Council is reviewing a proposed ordinance that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity after city officials said it would be difficult to enforce, and suggested a resolution might be better and get the attention of state lawmakers.

The proposed ordinance is based on a similar law approved in Laramie, where police say University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was targeted and beaten to death in 1998 because of his sexual orientation. Laramie officials say they have had no problems enforcing their law. It allows for mediation, and if that doesn’t work, a violation can bring a six-month jail sentence or $750 fine.

Town Attorney Audrey Cohen-Davis said in a report that jurisdiction of municipal courts is limited to criminal matters, under current laws, it’s not a crime.

The report also says a municipality would need to create a town civil rights division for enforcement, and that would involve state courts.

Officials said a resolution has no legal impact and may be the best way to move forward.

Mayor Sara Flitner, who raised the possibility of a non-discrimination ordinance last spring, said a resolution might work.

“I think it’s a great short-term solution,” she said. “There’s certainly a lot of dust that needs to settle in terms of understanding the legal implications.”

The resolution would also give the council time to see if the Wyoming Legislature takes action on the issue. In the 2015 session, lawmakers defeated a similar bill.


Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com

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