Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Repub tactic for luring physicians to Wyoming -- ban same-sex marriage

Several Sundays ago, local right-winger Richard Wall surprised me with some common sense in a Wyoming Tribune-Eagle guest column.

He urged increased efforts to recruit more physicians in sub-specialties to move to Wyoming. He was especially insistent that we don't have enough pediatricians who address the medical and mental health needs of children and teens.

That's a bandwagon I've been riding for awhile. More than once I've pointed out that Wyoming lacks child psychiatrists. When I say "lacks," I mean that literally -- there is not one child psychiatrist in the entire state.

Huzzah for Mr. Wall! Now we have common cause on a very important issue.

But my joyfullness was short-lived. In the very same column, Mr. Wall leaped on his favorite bandwagon -- the evils of homosexuality. He wants the Wyoming Legislature to legislate against same-sex marriage. It's not same-sex marriage that irks him. It's the fact that married gays and lesbians can move into Wyoming and expect the Equality State to live up to its name.

During two of the past three legislative sessions, bills were introduced to ban approval of same-sex marriages performed in other states. Both times, the legislation was killed by outspoken Republicans who obviously take seriously our "Equality State" motto. Since our Legislature is heavily Republican, it's easy to pass any bill if all Repubs hop on board. If some hop off, well...

Read details about last year's anti-gay bill at At the time, I noticed that one of the bill's backers was the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, the same equality-minded entity that brings you today's Super Bowl ad that aims to demonize every woman who's had an abortion -- or even thought about it.

Also find info about the 2007 bill at

As I look at this year's docket on the Legislature's web site, I find nothing about gay marriage. That's not unusual, as this is a 20-day budget session and consideration of new bills is limited (although you wouldn't know it after looking at the long list).

Maybe by the time 2011 rolls around, the legislative loonies who sponsor these bills will have given up. By then, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" will be a thing of the past in the U.S. military and Wheatland, Wyoming, will have re-installed the "No Place for Hate" banners.

There is a dark cloud on the horizon, equality-wise. In his column, Mr. Wall pledged his support to the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of right-winger Repub Ron Micheli. Mr. Micheli is a rancher from Fort Bridger who spent most of his 16 years in the state legislature towing the fundie line on abortion and gay rights. He's also on the 10th amendment bandwagon (so many bandwagons these days) which puts him in the same category as the Tea Partiers who were whooping it up with Sarah Palin last night in Nashville. Of course, this emphasis on the 10th amendment, which most of us never paid attention to until recently, is also a newly-discovered cause of our Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal.

Let me get back to Mr. Wall. I still support his call for more and better-educated physicians in Wyoming. I just wonder how that recruitment will go when our Equality State slogan has been so tarnished by the likes of the hate-filled wingnuts among us. Yes, some young physicians are conservatives and will prefer the ambience of high plains small towns such as Wheatland.

But most physicians come from cities (even the majority of Westerners now live in statistical metropolitan areas) and are educated in cities and go to school with ethnic minorities and might even be minorities themselves. They may even be LGBT! Specialists in particular seem to gravitate to city life. Cities boast an array of schools and soccer fields and music classes and theatres and shopping. Pay is better, especially for docs.

Rural living is a hard sell anyway. Add to that an unwelcoming attitude toward people who may be a little different -- you really have a problem.

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