Wyoming Equality, the state’s LGBTQ rights group, has called for disciplinary action against state Sen. Lynn Hutchings, who likened homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality in a conversation with students from a gay-straight alliance.
The remarks came February 1, on Wyoming Equality’s Gay-Straight Alliance Civics Day, when it takes students from GSAs to meet with officials in the Wyoming legislature and Supreme Court. Ten students from Central High School in Cheyenne, which is in Hutchings’s district, and their sponsor and teachers spoke with her about the Enhancing Quality Employment Act, according to a letter from Wyoming Equality, addressed to Senate President Drew Perkins and posted on the group’s website Friday.
Hutchings, a Republican, said she was unfamiliar with the act, which was then pending in the legislature but has since died for lack of action. When the group told her it would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, she said, “If my sexual orientation was to have sex with all of the men in there and I had sex with all of the women in there and then they brought their children and I had sex with all of them and then brought their dogs in and I had sex with them, should I be protected for my sexual orientation?” the letter relates.
When the students tried to explain the bill, Hutchings repeatedly interrupted them, then tried to fist-bump them and embraced one of them, Wyoming Equality reports.
Hutchings’s behavior was “unacceptable and inexcusable,” Wyoming Equality’s directors write in the letter, adding that the students were “deeply hurt and disturbed” by it. “The students’ sentiment was exacerbated especially after Senator Hutchings hypothetically recounted the idea of sexually engaging with children then physically engaged with the students,” it continues. “At Wyoming Equality, we are horrified.”
The letter mentions that LGBTQ young people are at high risk of suicide and self-harm, and that this is exacerbated by incidents such as this. It notes that all other lawmakers’ interactions with students “were civil and respectful no matter where the legislators stood on bills and issues.”
Wyoming Equality concludes by asking for some action to be taken against Hutchings. “The Central High School students and their sponsor deserve a clear, direct apology and clarification that [her] behavior was unacceptable and inappropriate of an adult and elected official,” it says.
Several Wyoming media outlets, including radio station KGAB and the Casper Star-Tribune, sought comment from Hutchings but so far have received no response. The Star-Tribune sought comment from Senate President Perkins, who also did not respond, but a Wyoming Equality spokesperson said Perkins had told the group he was planning to meet with Hutchings.