Matthew Shepard Was Brutally Murdered in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. Last Night, the City Passed the First LGBT Nondiscrimination Ordinance in the State.

On October 6, 1998, two young men in Laramie, Wyoming, tricked University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard into thinking they would give him a ride home from the bar. Eighteen hours later, a cyclist found the gay student tied to a fence, beaten, burned, and comatose with a fractured skull. He initially mistook Shepard's limp frame for a scarecrow.

I revisit what happened to Matthew Shepard because the place where he died, forever since then associated with the savage violence and hatred LGBT Americans face, did something special last night. It made history by passing the first Wyoming nondiscrimination ordinance, with very little public opposition, to protect everyone from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, and access to public accommodations.

While the tragic incident shone the light on the intolerance and discrimination that the LGBT community faces and highlighted the critical need for civil rights protections for LGBT people across the country, Wyomingites have waited many years for legislation that protects our friends, our family, and our neighbors from discrimination. There are no statewide LGBT protections for those seeking employment, housing, or the opportunities to participate fully in their communities. It is only fitting that Laramie lead the way in Wyoming towards safety, dignity, and fairness for all. We will work now to pass similar laws in other cities, and we will continue working at the statewide level until we secure full protections for all Wyomingites.

Bria Frame and Will Welch (local organizers) and Melanie Vigil at the NDO vote. The ordinance passed on a 7-2 vote.

Bria Frame and Will Welch (local organizers) and Melanie Vigil at the NDO vote. The ordinance passed on a 7-2 vote. 

We already protect our neighbors from discrimination based on characteristics like race, sex, religion, national origin, and disability. It is time that we protect our neighbors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, too. It's a matter of simple fairness. These long overdue protections will ensure that no Laramie resident fears being turned away from a job, for housing, or by a business just because of who they are, and can live without fear of discrimination based on what their family looks like.

Laramie residents worked hard to get this piece of legislation passed. Local businesses signed pledges to support the ordinance. People had conversations with their friends and family, gathered stories of discrimination, and ultimately showed up to city council meetings to testify their support. Local of people of faith also testified that an ordinance protecting everyone from discrimination was consistent with both their faith and the larger community values.

Laramie's decision stands as a clear message that we reject hate and intolerance, and we hope the rest of the country learns from our message last night. Love and acceptance always wins in the end.

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KAREN Strait Nesbit

I truly believe that the community of Laramie (at least those who are empathic) were devastated by this horrific and brutal killing. I watched all of it including the trial and went to Hartford and Albuq. to see the Wyoming Project. That episode in Wyoming profoundly changed who I am today. I was fucking terrorized and hoped that my own young Gay son would never go to his demise as did Matthew. To this day I weep.

Anonymous

Karen, this will be by 4th comment here replying to what you wrote & what I will say will offend others including possibly you. First, must again say that Metthew Wayne Shepard (1976-1998) was not the innocent as he has been portrayed by Laramie Project or films like Shepard is a Friend of Mine. Metthew Wayne Shepard was a junky who assoc. with drug dealers in both Colorado & Wyoming, was possibly a drug dealer himself (Methew Wayne Shepard could also possibly have been a drug courier or a lookout, but whether or not he was a drug dealer he did assoc. with drug dealers) & when he was 15 years old, he was arrested for molesting 2 boys & he got counseling by Natrona County Juvenile Court for molesting 2 boys. Metthew Wayne Shepard had himself been a victim of child molestation by 3 different people when he was a boy & if he had not been a victim of homosexual pedophiles would he have turned out straight instead of gay? I also have other comments to make regarding gay bashings which I know will offend others, which adds to my earlier post.

Gay bashing victims will face the same public opinion court as gay bashers. If there are ugly truths about a homosexual which the media omits as most did with Methew Wayne Shepard, then we will use our free speech rights to tell the ugly truths about the homosexual even if others dislike it. & there is nothing any1 can do to legally stop us from telling the ugly truths. Gay bashing victims will face the public opinion court as gay bashers do and ugly truths will be told about a homosexual if it’s found though it offends homosexual groups.

If homosexuals getting bashed and killed in unprovoked attacks was common, then it would not be in news because it would not be interesting. Going out & attacking people with no provocation is stupid but yes, there are stupid people and when this happens it is reported in news. Most domestic violence & rape/sex abuse cases do not get reported in news in most cases unless it is let’s say a famous person accused of rape or hitting his girlfriend or an unusual or strange case because there are so many of these cases that they would not be interesting.

With homosexuals, it is far more common for homosexuals to molest boys but most of these cases do not get reported in the news unless it’s a famous homosexual such as Jerry A. Sandusky. Homosexuals often target teenage boys because they think the teenage boys are easy targets to sexually abuse and some of the teenage boys fight back. Most men and boys who are victims of gays usu. won’t call cops to report that a gay is committing indecent exposure, harassment or in worst cases molestation until some1 reacts violently and bashes the gay.

A gay bashing case I know of from Arizona. What had happened was that an 18 year old boy had been in a park with friends. A gay who was much bigger than him grabbed the boy’s butt & made a sex comment. The boy then told his 2 friends. After this, the 2 men grabbed the gay, brought him to the boy who then hit the gay several times in the face. That ‘gay bashing’ victim committed a crime-assault&battery & boy reacted by bashing him. If that teenage boy had tried to walk away, that gay who was much bigger than him would likely have attacked him (possibly homosexual rape) because the gay had a violent history (unreported to cops) of beating up teenage boys after harassing them for sex & these cases unpredictable-that teenager boy would likely have ended up in the hospital. To say that ass grabbing is the only crime the gay was going to do is dishonest. Better to do too much than not enough in cases like that. With that gay, it’s highly likely the gay was trying to do something more violent than ass grabbing, so that gay deserves no sympathy for getting hit in the face.

This gay again had beaten up other teenage boys after committing assault & battery (ass grabbing), was likely trying to do it to this teenager boy, but because this teenager boy had 2 friends (1 a martial arts expert) who were with him, they were able to defend this boy before he got beaten up. If the homosexual is high on drugs (many gays drugjunkies) such as cocaine as that gay possibly was then it’s likely the gay would’ve done more violent crime in a cocaine rage if indeed the gay was high. Self-defense is a jury topic after hearing both prosecutor & defense lawyer & jury decides if gay basher used reasonable or excessive force. Most gay bashings are men reacting to crimes which the homosexual first did such as after a homosexual committed indecent exposure, assault & battery or other crime.

While harassment & indecent exposure alone does not justify killing a person, indecent exposure may not be the only crime intended. When homosexuals commit sex abuse, the first thing they do is commit indecent exposure, stalking assault and battery before doing something worse. If the homosexual is high on drugs such as Meth or Cocaine while committing indecent exposure, then it is possible for a homosexual who is committing indecent exposure to commit violence in a drug rage, even commit murder in a drug rage. There’s no need for a man to say no to a homosexual who is committing indecent exposure, etc. because there’s no need to say no to a crime the other had no right to do.

ANY assault and battery or murder case including gay bashing cases, unless there is a plea bargain (which happens in most cases) juries decide after hearing both prosecutor and defense lawyer. Juries decide what is reasonable & excess because each case is different and must be judged individually. As known with murder cases, there is Murder 1, Murder 2 and Manslaughter which is a jury topic. A jury can acquit or if they convict, they can convict a person on lesser charge. If it is true the homosexual was doing antisocial conduct before he was bashed, then yes, a jury must decide if it was justified or excess force to end the abuse. If a defense lawyer in a gay bashing case wants to raise a crime the gay did such as harassment, indecent exposure, etc. before man reacted violently, then that must be regarded in deciding verdict. I would rather have too much done than not enough in that I would rather have a case where a jury decides if a man’s reaction to bashing or killing a homosexual is justified or excess vs. the man doesn’t do enough and the gay does something worse.

Anonymous

Also Karen Strait Nesbit-If the law had punished Harvey B. Milk for committing homosexual abuse on a 16 year old boy in 1964 (which he was not prosecuted for) & if the Wyoming legal system had given Methew Wayne Shepard years in prison rather than counseling by Natrona County Juvenile Court for molesting 2 boys when he was 15 years old, then Harvey B. Milk & Methew Wayne Shepard both would have avoided being murdered in 1978 & 1998. It'd been better if this had happened-Harvey B. Milk convicted of homosexual statutory rape in 1960s, does prison time & then spends rest of his days in a homeless shelter or his family taking care of him after he's released from prison. Harvey Bernard Milk was a despicable homosexual coward who in 1964 committed statutory rape on a teenage boy (the boy committed suicide in 1980) but H.B. Milk was never prosecuted for it. Harvey Bernard Milk should’ve been convicted & jailed for felony statutory rape in 1964 & lost his right to vote. Harvey B. Milk being dead since 11/27/1978 won't be able to homosexually statutorily rape any more teen boys. Getting murdered in 1978 & 1998 does not change the truth that both Harvey B. Milk & Methew Wayne Shepard were gay pedophiles.

Anonymous

Let’s look @ what we do know about Methew W. Shepard. No matter why the murder happened, the idea that A.J. McKinney and Methew W. Shepard were strangers who did not know eachother until that day is rubbish. There are many witnesses-Doc O’ Connor’s ex girlfriend, Elaine Baker (bartender), M.K. Rohrbacher (drug dealer), Tristan (Ted) Henson (Methew W. Shepard’s former lover) & others who saw them together.

Even if 1 believes the murder was motivated by hatred of homosexuals, it is truth that A.J. McKinney and Methew W. Shepard knew eachother though A.J. McKinney denies it. There are too many witnesses who saw both men together. Of course the witnesses can only say they saw them together and can not know it all. It’s not believed Methew W. Shepard knew the 2nd man (R.A. Henderson) and I agree with Stephen Jimenez that Russell A. Henderson should have been convicted of a lesser crime such as Manslaughter and that he should have gotten a jury trial but got bad representation by his lawyers who urged him to take a plea when he wanted a jury trial. Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez Stephen Jimenez’s evidence are 1st party witnesses he interviewed-over 100 of them over 13 years.

I don’t think Methew W. Shepard should have been killed but it is truth that Methew W. Shepard molested 8 year old boys and got counseling for this when he was 15 years old-Stephen Jimenez incidentally mentioned this near end of book-he interviewed a Casper Wyoming cop and a relative of 1 of victims. But Judy L. Shepard and the Shepard Foundation omits this ugly truth of Methew W. Shepard being a child molester and it would not surprise me if ex Casper Star Tribune journalists Tiffany C. Hunt, Kerry A. Drake and JC Marsden know this but left this out in that I find it hard to believe these 3 Casper Wyoming journalists did not know about Methew W. Shepard molesting 8 year old boys when he was 15 years old because Stephen Jimenez found this in court records and again, Stephen Jimenez incidentally mentioned this near end of book as most of the book was about the 3 people, A.J. McKinney’s problems, Methew W. Shepard’s life and problems and of course the drug problems. Incidentally, it’s possible that Methew W. Shepard had molested more boys other than the 2 case reported to cops. Both JC Marsden & Big Island Chronicle Tiffany Camille Hunt sees nothing wrong with Methew W. Shepard selling drugs and molesting children so their view is rubbish.

Methew W. Shepard associating with drug dealers in both Wyoming and Colorado is not disputable. Methew W. Shepard went into bars where drugs were sold and he did associate with drug dealers-we know that he went to bars named Tornado, Ranger, Library & other bars in Wyoming and Colorado where drugs were sold. Methew W. Shepard’s friend Tina LaBrie expressing concerns about Methew W. Shepard’s drug and $ problems. We know that Methew W. Shepard was having $ problems (spending so much on limosuine rides in Doc O’ Connor’s limousine).

Methew W. Shepard’s a junky (proven fact), drunkard and had money problems. Sheriff O’Malley has said that if Methew W. Shepard sold drugs, the cops would have known which is dishonest-Sheriff David S. O’Malley and Sgt. R.J. DeBree know cops don’t always catch all the criminals and that many drug dealers escape detection. Sheriff David S. O’Malley and Sgt. Robert J. DeBree have arrested drug dealers and they know how it’s the family and friends who get surprised after they learn some1 they know is a drug dealer.

Sheriff David S. O’Malley and Sgt. Robert J. DeBree know that it’s unlikely MW. Shepard told his friends and family that he was a drug dealer, and even if Methew W. Shepard did tell his friends and family that he sold drugs, don’t think his family will admit this ugly as they had tried to hide the fact that Methew Wayne Shepard molested 8 year old boys and got counseling.

Now was Methew W. Shepard’s assocation with drug dealers and going into bars where drugs were sold more than buying drugs ? Was Methew W. Shepard a drug dealer or a drug courier? Stephen Jimenez thinks so and he believes it was the Denver circle. No, Stephen Jimenez does not know it all but his conclusions are sincere and honest. While homosexual groups complain about Stephen Jimenez saying the murder case is complicated and possibly not a hate crime, that is incidental-main reason homosexual groups are offended by Stephen Jimenez’s book is because he talked about the ugly truths about who M.W. Shepard was. You don’t always know the secrets friends and family have. If a person is a drug dealer, then they are usually not going to tell their friends and family that they do this.

Even if Metthew W. Shepard did tell his friends and family that he sold drugs, don’t think his family will admit this ugly truth about him, as they had tried to hide the fact that Methew Wayne Shepard molested 8 year old boys and got counseling for it. Laramie Project, Shepard Foundation & Big Island Chronicle Tiffany Camille Hunt sees nothing wrong with Methew W. Shepard selling drugs and molesting children so their view is rubbish.

etseq

Proof positive of why we need anti-discrimination laws is this type of unhinged conspiratorial homophobia. This commenter is a cut-n-paste troll that has spewed this crap on hundreds of posts on the net,

Bern Haggerty

Good job Melanie. Keep up the good work. Also, nice photo!

Anonymous

I have 2 more comments to add to my post. Though I know what I'll say here will offend, I'm a nonreligious person who sees something wrong with homosexual & lesbian conduct & I think that they must make it a crime to do sex changes. Even if orientation doesn’t change, it’s best for gays/lesbians to be celibate just as it’s best for a person with tobacco orientation not to smoke. If homosexuality is inborn as some scientists believe, then it would be a birth defect.

Never have I heard straights blame childhood sex abuse for reasons a man has sex with a woman and fathers children with her. Yet sometimes have heard gays and lesbians say childhood sex abuse is reason they do same sex behaviors. Sex abuse in youth can cause people to behave in ways. It’s not controversial to talk of nightmares, suicides, bed wetting often a result of sex abuse in youth. Yet when 1 talks gay/lesbian behaviors in adulthood because they learned this sexual behavior by being repeatedly molested, then gays with politically safe psychologists complain. The politically correct psychologists who deny this know it’s possible for a boy to turn out gay as a result of childhood sex abuse, yet deny what they know is true. Of course, not all who are sexually abused in youth become gay in adulthood-but the risk is higher.

Homosexual/lesbian conduct needs to be marginalized such as smoking/tobacco use is. I know my view offends homosexuals, but most smokers do not get offended by negative views of tobacco use. So homosexuals/lesbians have to hear others give negative views of their sex lives, because there is something wrong with this just as there’s something wrong with smoking.

Repair therapy for gays and lesbians who want to be straight must be available just as repair therapy must be available for a drug junky who wants to become clean. For a therapy to have best chance of success, the patient has to want it for themselves. If a person goes into therapy because he or she is pressured by peers into this, they are usu. not going to last long because they don’t sincerely want it. If a kid is a junky and he or she doesn’t want therapy to quit drugs, then it’s usu. going to fail because they don’t want it. You can not force a person into therapy minus a court order and even if you do, if they don’t sincerely want it, it’s usu. will fail. While repair therapy to treat gayism, lesbianism often fails, using what you ask, we also should not have repair therapy to treat smoking, drug junkyism, etc. because that often fails. Minors can not be forced into therapy against will-minus a court order such as requiring medicines for a minor who does not want medicines.

Yes, it should also be the right of homosexuals and lesbians not to go into repair therapy just as I support right of tobacco users not to have repair therapy to quit smoking and I support right of any lucid person to refuse medical care such as if a lucid person’s a heart attack victim and does not want open heart surgery, then it should be their right to refuse this. Yes, proof burden is on repair therapists, but if you aren’t going to have repair therapy for homsexuality/lesbianism, then you may as well not have repair therapy for drug junkyism or drunkardism, because such therapy often fails and high relapses. Is it possible for a homosexual or lesbian to change sexual behavior and sexual orientation to heterosexuality? There are gays and lesbians who sincerely believe they changed to heterosexuality and without contrary proof only they know.

There is something wrong with a man thinking he is a woman or a woman thinking she is a man. It is mutilation with dangerous hormones. Most transexuals were sexually abused in childhood which messed up their minds and transexuals sexually abuse children. Transexuals are mutilated gays and lesbians. I don’t care what others say but mutilating a man or woman to make them fake members of opposite sex is gay/lesbian. And gay/lesbian groups are apologists for Transexuals which is why the word T is there. They must abolish this surgical mutilation.

All transexuals are homosexual/lesbian as the act of mutilating to become false opposite sex is itself an act of homosexuality/lesbianism-sad maiming and make this illegal. Finally, sex change maimings which is mutilating some1 to make them fake members of opposite sex is comparable to trying to make a man a fake animal because he thinks he is an animal trapped in a human body. Most feminists are not speaking against this. 1 would hope that feminists would oppose the mutilation that happened to Chastity Sun Bono as feminists have spoken against Female Genital Mutilation which happens in some nations. Transexuals are mutilations which no Dr. should take part in, yet most feminists are not condemning this female genital and breast mutilation as what happened to Chastity S. Bono where her healthy breasts were mutilated, dangerous hormone shots and her genitals mutilated.

Anonymous

Here's my 2nd comment & though I know it offends others especially homosexual groups. When I read a gay (transexuals are mutilated gays/lesbians and they must abolish sex changes) bashing case in the news, I wonder what the view is of the journalist reporting this on homosexuality/lesbianism. I also wonder if the journalist is a homosexual or lesbian and if so, are they setting aside their bias and reporting the news with no problems. I do not trust news that I get from Daily Kos or the Huffington Post on their coverage of gay bashing cases because they predictably make the homosexual look like an innocent victim no matter what wrong the gay does.

Gay bashing victims will face the same public opinion court as gay bashers. If there are ugly truths about a homosexual which the media omits as most did with Methew Wayne Shepard, then we will use our free speech rights to tell the ugly truths about the homosexual even if others dislike it. & there is nothing any1 can do to legally stop us from telling the ugly truths. Gay bashing victims will face the public opinion court as gay bashers do and ugly truths will be told about a homosexual if it’s found though it offends homosexual groups.

ANY assault and battery or murder cases including gay bashing cases, unless there is a plea bargain (which happens in most criminal cases) juries decide after hearing both prosecutor and defense lawyer. Juries decide what is reasonable & excess because each case is different and must be judged individually. As known with murder cases, there is Murder 1, Murder 2 and Manslaughter which is a jury topic. If a defense lawyer in a gay bashing case wants to raise a crime the gay did such as harassment, indecent exposure, etc. before man reacted violently, then that must be regarded in deciding verdict. Prosecutors can argue why they think it was excess force and defense lawyer can argue why it was justified force. Jury decides if it’s justified or excess force. A jury can acquit or if they convict, they can convict a person on lesser charge.

Most gay bashings I have found are men reacting to crimes which the homosexual first did such as after a homosexual committed indecent exposure, assault & battery or other crime. I would rather have too much done than not enough in that I would rather have a case where a jury decides if a man’s reaction to bashing or killing a homosexual is justified or excess vs. the man doesn’t do enough and the gay does something worse. A rebuttal people make is that gay bashers will sometimes say things to justify their deeds such as saying the homosexual committed indecent exposure, harassment, stalking and so on and that it’s the gay basher’s side of story. Yes-but just as gay basher’s have interest to justify their deeds, gay bashing victims have interest to make themselves look like innocent victims. We don’t always know the other side of story and that is usually different from what homosexual says happened. Again if it’s true homosexual committed indecent exposure, harassment, stalking, etc. before men reacted violently, then the fact the homosexual committed a crime before he was bashed must be decided by jury in deciding if gay basher(s) used reasonable or excess force. I would rather have a case where a jury decides if a man’s reaction to bashing or killing a homosexual is justified or excess vs. the man doesn’t do enough and the gay does something worse. Most men and boys who are victims of gays usu. won’t call cops to report that a gay is committing indecent exposure, harassment or in worst cases molestation until some1 reacts violently and bashes the gay.

Something to regard-if you’re a store owner there is no need to put up signs that say ‘don’t steal’ because stealing is a crime and no need to say no to a crime the other person has no right to do. If some1 is stealing from your store, the right thing to do is use reasonable (not excess) force to stop the the thief and have the police arrest the thief. If you do nothing, then worse can happen as these situations can be unpredictable. It is possible for a thief to be stealing things anything small such as shoplifting candy to expensive things such as diamonds and then beat up or even kill the shop keeper in the same crime with or without weapons. Many cases where thieves have beaten up or killed shop keepers after stealing. No, stealing alone does not justify deadly force but theft may not be the only crime intended and it is possible for thieves to beat up or kill their victims. If the thief is high on drugs (such as a junky who steals to support his or her habit) then it is possible for the thief to be stealing things and then in a drug rage attack or even kill the store owner with his own hands.

Synonymously, if a homosexual is going to commit harassment, indecent exposure, stalking, assault and battery (such as if a homosexual grabs a man’s butt or groin against will), etc. then a man has a right to use reasonable force to end the abuse. There’s no need for a man to say no to a homosexual who is committing indecent exposure, etc. because there’s no need to say no to a crime the other had no right to as in the store owner eg.-stealing is a crime and no need to say no to thieves. If a defense lawyer in a gay bashing case wants to raise a crime the gay did such as harassment, indecent exposure, stalking, etc. before man reacted violently, then that must be regarded in deciding verdict.

Anonymous

im doing a project on this topic.i cant believe this goes on for over a century

Anonymous

If people want to watch the Laramie Project play, then it’s their right. The same thing with if people want to watch the 2008 movie Milk about Harvey B. Milk which starred Sean J. Penn. But schools push the movie Milk and the Laramie Project play on schoolchildren with little to no opposing views. With Harvey B. Milk and M.W. Shepard, what has happened is adults pushing their agenda on schoolchildren. If homosexual/lesbian groups want to honor Harvey B. Milk and Methew Wayne Shepard, then it’s their business. But when they push their views on children, then it’s wrong. If Harvey B. Milk, Laramie Project propaganda comes to your school, then tell truths about who both were. If people want to watch Laramie Project on their own will, then it’s their right. But it is wrong for high schools and colleges to require students to watch this. If they do require students to watch this, then students should have a right to tell the ugly truths about who he was and to give their views w/o being punished by a teacher who didn’t like their view.

Methew W. Shepard’s parents (especially his mom) and brother Logan P. Shepard get rich from the Methew W. Shepard case by the Methew W. Shepard Foundation and Judy P. Shepard writing a book about her son. Judy L. Shepard and M.W. Shepard’s friend Romaine Patterson both wrote books about him. The 2 have interest to make money and since they are his mom and friend, they are biased and bias meddles with facts. The Shepard Foundation is a propaganda group whose main interest is to push an agenda and to make money.Judy L. Shepard does exploit her son for $. Judy L. Shepard sees nothing wrong with her son molesting 8 year old boys and Judy L. Shepard earns anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 per speech. Judy L. Shepard’s interest is to profit from her son’s 1998 killing. The Shepard Foundation is a propaganda group whose main interest is to push an agenda and to make money.

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