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The Wyoming Senate rejected a bill today that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The standing vote was 13 for the bill and 15 opposed.

Opponents claimed Senate File 131 would create a protected class of employees and would result in lawsuits against employers.

The sponsor, Sen. Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie, said the purpose of the bill was to recognize and prevent discrimination.

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Twenty-one states have adopted similar legislation.

Gay activists have been pushing the bill, saying it's essential to give Wyoming gays and lesbians protections in the workplace and elsewhere. Opponents expressed concern that the bill could impinge on religious freedoms.

The House this session defeated two other bills that would have permitted same-sex marriages and same-sex domestic partnerships.

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