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Wyoming GOP plans to reintroduce defense of marriage measure

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Republican legislators in Wyoming are planning to reintroduce a defense of marriage law that would bar the state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.

State Rep. Owen Petersen (R-Mountain View) and State Sen. Curt Meier (R-LaGrange) plan to co-sponsor a resolution in the 2011 general session that would allow voters to decide whether or not the state should give constitutional authority to same-sex marriage.

The current Wyoming law defines marriage as a legal union between a man and woman, but Wyoming also recognizes marriages performed elsewhere.

Petersen said the loophole raises questions about what happens when gay and lesbian couples from other states move into the state.

The proposal would allow Wyoming’s voters to determine whether the state Constitution should define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Supporters say the time is right for the proposal to reappear. A 40-day general session means that there is more time for debate. A conservative majority on both sides of the state legislature also could give the resolution the additional support to pass the motion on to voters.

Representative Ken Esquibel, (D-Cheyenne), said he believes it’s a proposal that does more to make social conservatives feel good than to protect traditional marriage.

“I don’t see how we can call ourselves the Equality State when we are singling out a group of people,” Esquibel said.

Similar legislation failed in 2009.

In September, Wyoming was among ten states that signed onto a legal brief opposing same-sex marriage, claiming a federal court “exceeded its judicial authority” when it ruled that California’s Proposition 8 — the 2008 voter-approved ban on gay marriage — was “unconstitutional.”

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7 more reader comments:

  1. Love doesn’t have a gender. <3 Church and State are suppose to be seperate, but when it comes to two people wanting to marry each other, they combine the two? Why? Only to say that they can't get married, because it's wrong? Lie. Love is love and when two people love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives with each other, they should be allowed to marry and be together. =).

    Posted on Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 11:14am
  2. of all the states i planned to run off to in order to be as gay and married as possible….oddly enough, WY was not on that list. too bad for you, WY…i’m not getting hitched anytime soon but you’re missing out on a fun gay here!

    Posted on Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 12:54pm
  3. Soo much for being the equality state!

    Posted on Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 3:09pm
  4. Where is Wyoming, anyway??

    Posted on Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 4:30pm
  5. i cant beleive how behind people are….

    Posted on Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 5:40pm
  6. The Wyoming Republicans that are introducing this so-called "Defense of Marriage" bill KNOW that ultimately the issue of marriage equality for Gay couples is going to a decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, and they KNOW that there is simply no constitutional justification for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that Straight couples have always taken for granted.

    Of course, none of that concerns these Wyoming Republicans as the political points they may be able to score by grandstanding in this way. No one so many Americans are so cynical about politics.

    Posted on Monday, January 3, 2011 at 9:30am
  7. No WONDER so many Americans are so cynical about politics.

    Posted on Monday, January 3, 2011 at 9:32am