Despite the Republican majority in Wyoming, it seems the state is failing to uphold conservative values, as evidenced most glaringly by the recent controversial incident involving the Kolstad family. Their underage daughter was reportedly escorted by Montana Child and Family Services to Wyoming to undergo gender transition therapy. This incident has raised several eyebrows, particularly given that Montana had passed a law prohibiting the chemical castration of minors, while Wyoming had failed to enact a similar one, known as Chloe’s Law.
Governor Mark Gordon and House Speaker Albert Sommers found themselves at the center of this controversy for opposing Chloe’s Law. Subsequently, state representatives led by Lloyd Larsen introduced HB 0063, which, although promoted as a bill to ban castration of minors, only prohibits physical castration and leaves loopholes for chemical castration.
These lukewarm Republicans have elicited criticism for compromising on traditionally conservative stances. For instance, Speaker Sommers not only endorsed gender studies and queer theory at the University of Wyoming but also blocked the Parental Rights in Education Act. This Act would have prevented teachers from teaching about sexuality in classes from kindergarten through third grade.
On the other hand, Governor Gordon is accused of subtly steering Wyoming towards a more liberal stance, a move critics claim is emboldening Democrats in one of the most Republican states in America. Wyoming’s current political climate underscores the importance of electing conservatives who remain true to their principles, to prevent a shift towards the left.
With recent events such as former Rep. Liz Cheney’s failed 2022 congressional primary reportedly due to her alienation from conservative values in mind, the complacency of conservative parties has come under close scrutiny. State representatives like Sommers and Gordon, who critics argue lean more to the left than Cheney on various topics, are considered indicative of the conservatives’ failure to exert sufficient influence.