Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest blogger: HB 74 is not legislation that reflects our history as The Equality State

Don't have too many guest blogs on these pages. But this is a great one from Emily Cram (pictured at right), a doctoral student at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. Way back when, Emily worked as an intern for me at the Wyoming Arts Council. A writer and champion forensics student at University of Wyoming, Emily has gone on to bigger things.

However, she is a daughter of Wyoming -- a native. As such, she is free to weigh in on anything she damn well wants to. So say I. Emily gives permission for anyone and everyone to borrow her fine words and send them to his/her legislator. She hopes for wide distribution.

Emily speaks:

Just recently, past and present Wyoming governors gathered to discuss how to govern Wyoming’s future, while taking care to be sure that governance was in the spirit of Wyoming’s political attitudes and culture. As I watched Governors Mead, Freudenthal, Geringer, and Sullivan, I was moved by the sense that Wyoming is a place where our disagreements never foreclose the way that we feel a deep sense of obligation towards each other in times of need. I believe Governor Geringer was the one who said: at one moment you may fight with another on the capital floor, but the next day that person just may be the one pulling you out of a snowdrift. 

The movement of HB 74, or the “Validity of Marriages” Bill out of the House Education Committee to the full consideration of the House and Senate is more than a snowdrift. It is a bill that cuts against the core values of Wyoming’s political culture: the belief that the government should not impinge on the ways in which a person desires to conduct their personal life and the families they wish to consensually create and ethically sustain. HB 74 invalidates the legal marriages of those who have committed no legal offense. Rather than commit to building and supporting Wyoming’s families, diverse in organization as they may be, HB 74 destroys the kinds of support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples ought to be able to access, just as any other human being who desires to faithfully participate in the institution of marriage. Acts that authorize only particular partnerships (i.e. the “males” and “females” that HB 74 validates), yet withhold the access to legal rights such as hospital visitation, fair housing, among others, marginalize people in Wyoming. 

HB 74 is not legislation that reflects our history as the Equality State. As the daughter of parents from Casper and Riverton, I am proud to have grown up in a place like Wyoming and still call it home. But HB 74 harms families and perpetuates the problematic belief that only certain kinds of families are valuable. I encourage the people of Wyoming to embrace our ability to disagree with each other yet always feel the need to pull others out of a snowdrift. Please support Wyoming’s families and vote against HB 74.

Emily Dianne Cram


Anonymous said...

I agree,The government should govern,and stay out of our homes (bedrooms)Life Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness!Our GOD given rights!

Michael Shay said...

What does God have to do with it?