GOP Lawmakers Silent
A bar in Cheyenne has been selling tee shirts depicting an old man pointing a gun straight ahead, and emblazoned with the message: “In Wyoming we have a cure for AIDS, We shoot f—in’ f——.”
“We are sad to say that we failed to convince a local bar to pull these shirts from circulation,” Wyoming Equality says in a Facebook post. “We hoped that they would choose to stop selling them when they realized the harm it did to the LGBTQ community and those living with AIDS. We are not sharing the name of the business because we do not want them to gain notoriety/ sell more shirts off the pain of our community. It is a sad day.”
The Casper Star-Tribune reports “Sara Burlingame, executive director of Wyoming Equality, said she approached the bar’s owner twice and asked him to stop selling the shirts. The owner refused, she said.”
They add that a “person who answered the phone at the Cheyenne bar refused to put the Star-Tribune in contact with the manager or the owner when contacted for comment.”
Ultimately, the tees proved popular in the deeply conservative state.
The owner of the bar on Monday told The Cheyenne Post the tee shirts have “sold out.” He says he will not be reordering them, not because of massive outrage on social media, but because he is “in the bar business, not the apparel business.”
NCRM could find no statewide elected politician in Wyoming who has denounced this. Governor Mark Gordon, U.S. Senators John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis, and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, all Republicans, appear to have said nothing on social media.
Wyoming of course is where 21-year old college student Matthew Shepard was robbed, then violently tortured, beaten, pistol-whipped, and tied up to a barbed wire fence, and left for dead in frigid temperatures in 1998. He died six days after being found and hospitalized. Congress finally passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009, which President Barack Obama signed into law.
“Wyoming has had 22 years to pass Hate Crime legislation and every year our legislators parrot the line that the Equality State doesn’t need this law,” Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother and board president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, told the Star-Tribune. “It is time for Wyoming to face reality and recognize that we are losing our youth, our economic potential and our soul. The time to take a stand is now, not after another family loses their child.”
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