The State of Equality

On a recent ministry trip to Wyoming, I learned of the state’s groundbreaking heritage and the extraordinary events that gave Wyoming its nickname, “The Equality State.”

On September 6, 1870 in Laramie, Wyoming, Louisa Ann Garner Swain became the first woman in the world to cast a ballot under laws granting women the right to vote with full civil equality with men. That same year in Wyoming, Eliza Stewart became the first woman to serve on a jury, Martha Symons Boies became the first woman to serve as a bailiff, and Esther Hobart Morris became the first woman to serve in a judicial position. In 1894, Estelle Reel became the first woman elected to statewide office, and later the first woman to hold a position requiring confirmation by the U.S. Senate. In 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman elected Governor in the United States. She was also the first woman Director of the U.S. Mint.

In Philippians 2:5-8 (The Message) we read that although Christ Jesus had equal status with God, He didn’t think so much of Himself that He had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what… When the time came, He set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human… He lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death…”

In Scripture, a state of equality means the freedom to obey the call of God in sacrificial service to others. And so we are reminded of how we can use such God-given, Christ-modeled liberties as we celebrate these Wyoming women.

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