A proposed hate crime ordinance passed its second reading Tuesday night on a 4-3 vote by the Gillette City Council.
It will now move on to a third and final reading, which will take place at the city council’s next meeting on June 6.
The votes remained unchanged from the first reading, with City Councilmen Jim West, Billy Montgomery and Nathan McLeland and Councilwoman Heidi Gross voting for the ordinance, and Mayor Shay Lundvall, Councilwoman Trish Simonson and Councilman Tim Carsrud voting against it.
City Attorney Sean Brown said there will be some amendments made to the ordinance before its final reading, including adding the category of age to the other protected classes, clarifying language to “make it clear the ordinance applies universally,” and to address some “free speech concerns.”
Lundvall said the city has spent a lot of time and energy on this, and that it doesn’t take the decision lightly. He said the city will stand against hate, regardless of whether the ordinance is passed.
“There’s not a single one of us up here that don’t want a good healthy community,” he said. “What I struggle with a lot is layering the law that’s already existing.”
West said he’s heard from residents that this ordinance is doing nothing more than dividing the community.
“Our community’s already divided,” he said. “This is just making us have a conversation about it, making people talk to each other and ask tough questions.”
West said society has evolved over the decades, and that laws have changed to keep up with those societal changes. He added that while “you can have your dislike of certain people,” that doesn’t mean you can burn down their house because of who they are.
The council allowed public comment at the end of the meeting, after the ordinance was voted on, and dozens of residents took advantage of this opportunity.
Karin Ebertz said a community’s strength is in its diversity, and that over the last 40 years, Gillette has shown that it values diversity.
Sen. Troy McKeown, on the other hand, said “diversity and division are the same thing,” and Mike Morgan, who’s lived in Wyoming for more than 20 years after spending his first three decades in California, said more diversity leads to more hate.
Kim Mather, a local business owner, said he moved to Gillette from California two years ago to get away from liberal policies, and that it’s “disturbing to see we’re in fact contemplating some of the same stuff” as California.
Others shared his concern, worrying that if Gillette passes this ordinance, the community will turn into cities like Chicago, New York or San Francisco, with high crime rates and large homeless populations.
Jenny Sorenson said the community is changing, and the city needs to be “forward thinking about that.”
“I’m going to ask the council that we evolve, that we move forward, that we look towards the future,” she said.
Singling out the Caucasian, Christian male? That is the only person you can commit any crime against and have it NOT be a hate crime in someone’s mind. It's also the only real minority left in the world.
Without a good Trans bathroom policy this bill has no teeth, gillette needs to get with modern times and pass a Trans bill of rights.
"Others shared his concern, worrying that if Gillette passes this ordinance, the community will turn into cities like Chicago, New York or San Francisco, with high crime rates and large homeless populations."
This is undoubtedly the funniest thing i've ever read on this site.
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