Sen. Hutchings responds to homophobic accusations

WYOMING – In response to allegations she used inappropriate language with high school teenagers earlier this month, Sen. Lynn Hutchings (R-Cheyenne) offered the following statement.

“On February 1 I was called out of Senate chambers by a group of high school students asking about a bill in the House, HB0230. It would add sexual orientation and gender identity to state law. Although the bill had not reached the Senate, and I hadn’t read it, in an effort to be courteous I spoke to them.

I made an attempt to best engage several of them by asking four rhetorical questions.  These students were brought to the Jonah Building to lobby for this topic about sexual orientation.  My questions to them were intended to highlight the vagueness and subjectivity of the term “sexual orientation” and how it can be defined in so many ways. After spending more time with them than I expected, we cordially parted company with fist bumps all around.

It is unfortunate, but I now recognize, that my attempts at meaningful dialogue on this specific issue did not come across as I intended. I believe I treated these students kindly. I want to make it clear that my conversation was not intended to demean these students.  I at no time compared homosexuality with bestiality or pedophilia. That never happened.

However, those same individuals demanding an apology, respect, and tolerance have assaulted me with racial slurs, character assassination, profanity and threats. It is unfortunate that this behavior has arisen as the result of a fabricated and one-sided story.

I will always guard a person’s ability to freely make choices regarding their lives. I respect the rights of everyone to make choices freely. However, with this freedom comes the responsibility to tolerate those with different views and opinions. That is especially true in the legislature, which must be a place where we come together to debate real-life ideas, some we agree with, some we do not. For all of us, including myself, this situation provides a learning opportunity for us to find better ways discuss to these issues in a respectful manner, while also extending grace to one another when we say things unartfully.

The business community, however, should be outraged as this will only continue to bring negative and unjustified attention to Wyoming as another untruth is spread across the country.”

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