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He said blocking these and other bills he considers bad for the state are what he does best.
‘I Was a 4-Year Queer’: 15 Straight(ish) People on Their Gay Time in College
He said blocking these and other bills he considers bad for the state are what he does best. Dan Zwonitzer.
In fact, Wyoming, considered one of the most conservative states, has not passed any anti-LGBTQ legislation since a statute against same-sex marriage inaccording to fellow Rep. Zwonitzer, who is gsy second most senior representative in the state House, "is just well-respected," Burlingame said.
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I mean, he really is pretty remarkable," Burlingame said. Zwonitzer, whose district includes parts of Laramie County and the capital, Cheyenne, became the youngest person in state history to the Legislature when he ousted incumbent Edward R.
Prosser, a Republican, at age Today, he finds himself among a shrinking circle of moderates. Although traditional Republicans held on to 11 battleground districts in the August primaries, far-right candidates clinched seats in seven districts, replacing a of incumbents, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.
Although he is a gun owner, he has refused to sponsor or support certain pieces of pro-gun legislation, including one that would have repealed "gun-free zones" in the state. He supports expanding Medicaid in Wyoming, one of at least 12 states that haven't expanded the program under the Affordable Care Act.
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And he said that when he was chairman of the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee, he helped defeat conservative efforts to enact laws that would restrict voting rights. His score with the National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund, the NRA's political action committee, dropped from an A- to a C- and the American Conservative Union Foundation, a grassroots organization that ranks Republicans based on their level of conservatism, gave him the lowest score on its Wyoming report.
It's almost a badge of honor right now," Zwonitzer said. In the August primaries, he beat his Republican challenger, John Harvey, by almost 15 percentage points.
His father, David Zwonitzer, also a Republican, served alongside him in the House until he retired in At the time, Zwonitzer feared that coming out would create problems for his dad. No fights, no arguments, no political campaigns against me, no letters to the editor, nothing. Courtesy Dan Zwonitzer Zwonitzer, who teaches political science at a community college, married Browning, 30, a government employee, in Colkege adopted two sons, Nick, 12, and Ezekiel, The family lives in Cheyenne, where Zwonitzer grew up, helping his parents run their family businesses, a furniture store colpege auction company.
He said he has never faced backlash for his sexuality in Wyoming, a mountainous state ghys less thanwhere "everybody knows everybody. My friends want to meet you,'" he said.
In the state notorious for the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was brutally beaten by two men and left for dead near Laramie, attitudes have shifted toward acceptance, Zwonitzer said. Still, Wyoming has yet to pass any statewide legislation protecting LGBTQ residents, although the city of Laramie, where Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming, passed an anti-discrimination ordinance in that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and access to public accommodations.
In recent years, Republican collegs introduced several anti-transgender bills, including at least one so-called bathroom bill that would have penalized trans people for using public accommodations matching their gender identities, but they were "dead on arrival," Zwonitzer said.
Since Shepard's murder, lawmakers in Wyoming tried but failed to pass a hate crimes bill inZwonitzer said. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a federal law that expanded the power of the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But Zwonitzer said he would still like Wyoming to pass a hate crimes bill, noting that it is one of just three statesalong with Arkansas and South Carolina, that hasn't done so.
The sting of Shepard's death "is still there," said Zwonitzer, who was studying at Georgetown University in Washington, D.
Zwonitzer is the only gay Republican lawmaker endorsed by the Victory Fund who is still in the race. On the other, he's faced criticism from liberals over his allegiance to the Republican Party, which has pushed dozens of anti-LGBTQ bills across the country. But Zwonitzer — who said he sees political ideology as a matter of "fighting for what you believe in" rather than rank-and-file party affiliation — argued that there is "a place in the Republican Party for the GLBT community.
The Republican Party is, you know, a choice right now, and I'll be the first to admit it's getting a little tougher to be a Republican," Zwonitzer said. He said that before he retires from politics, he hopes to help pass a hate crimes bill in Wyoming, which he expects to make its way to the Legislature next year in the wake of a United States Commission on Civil Rights-backed investigation into bias crimes in the state.