Laramie passes measure to protect gays, lesbians 17 years after Matthew Shepard’s murder

This undated photo provided by the Matthew Shepard Foundation shows Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was murdered to death in Laramie, Wyo., in 1998. His death became a rallying point in the gay rights movement. The Laramie City Council is scheduled to hold its final vote Wednesday, May 13, 2015, on a measure that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and access to public facilities such as restaurants. (Matthew Shepard Foundation via AP)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – The Laramie City Council has approved a local anti-discrimination ordinance in the college town where Matthew Shepard’s death triggered nationwide sympathy and brought a re-examination of attitudes toward gays 17 years ago.

The council voted 7-2 Wednesday night in favor of the measure that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and access to public facilities such as restaurants.

Local organizers focused their efforts on Laramie after the Legislature repeatedly rejected anti-discrimination bills, most recently early this year. The Laramie Nondiscrimination Task Force presented a draft ordinance to the city council last summer.

Shepard, a gay university student, was murdered in Laramie in 1998, and his death became a rallying point in the gay rights movement. Congress has passed hate crimes legislation bearing his name.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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