Our state’s nickname, the “Cowboy State,” is very fitting during Cheyenne Frontier Days, however, our other nickname, the “Equality State,” is perhaps the more suitable alias for 2019. This year is being commemorated by the Wyoming State Legislature as a year to recognize and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the passage of women’s suffrage in Wyoming. It also affirms Wyoming’s legacy as the first government in the world to recognize the rights of men and women alike to elect their leaders and hold office. It wasn’t until 50 years later, in 1919, that the United States Congress finally voted in favor of the 19th Amendment.
Wyoming made history with its many “firsts” and blazed the trail for other states. The first ballot cast by a woman voter was in Wyoming (1870); the first jury to include women was in Wyoming (1870); Esther Hobart Morris was the first woman to serve as a judge in the United States (Justice of the Peace in 1870); first women to vote in a presidential election (1892); Jackson’s city council, composed entirely of women and dubbed the “petticoat government,” was the first all-women government in the U.S. (1920); and Wyoming Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first woman in the United States to serve as governor of a state (1924). These events strengthen Wyoming’s heritage as the “Equality State.”
The first female Wyoming Supreme Court Justices in Wyoming’s history recently rode in the Cheyenne Frontier Days parade to show their appreciation and respect for the women who came before them.
From left to right: Justice Kate Fox, Justice Lynne Boomgaarden, Justice Marilyn Kite, (retired Chief Justice), Justice Kari Gray