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Wyoming legislature advances anti-gay marriage bills

Saturday, January 22, 2011

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming state House this week advanced legislation that would prohibit recognition of out-of-state gay marriages, while a Senate committee approved a resolution aimed at a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the so-called “Equality State.”

The measure, House Bill 74, passed on its first hearing with 34 out of 60 votes. The bill must now pass a final vote next week before heading to the Senate, which appears supportive of the proposal, reports the Billings Gazette.

State Rep. Owen Petersen (R-Mountain View), the bill’s sponsor, said the legislation was needed simply to resolve a conflict in Wyoming law. A Wyoming statute defines marriage as a contract “between a male and a female person,” but state law also recognizes any valid marriage performed outside the state.

But during a lengthy and impassioned debate on the House floor Thursday, legislators both for and against the bill said the issue went far beyond simply correcting a snafu in state law.

“This is the civil rights issue of our day,” said state Rep. Cathy Connolly (D-Laramie), the only openly gay Wyoming legislator. “It does not help anyone. It violates our principles of live and let live and our motto of the Equality State.”

The Wyoming House has voted down similar legislation twice in recent years, but with 12 opponents of the 2009 anti-gay marriage bill retiring or losing in the last election, supporters have said they’re optimistic they have the votes to pass the bill this year.

Connolly said she is planning to introduce her own bill that would simply change existing Wyoming law’s definition of marriage from a civil contract “between a male and a female person” to a contract between “two natural persons.”

Meanwhile, in the Senate chamber on Friday, the Judiciary Committee passed a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage by a 3-2 vote.

The resolution now heads to the full Senate for consideration, but even if it passes passes the Senate, Thursday’s vote on HB74 indicates there might not be the two-thirds support needed to pass in the House.

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Filed under: Wyoming

11 more reader comments:

  1. this is the problem where you have a “unions of states”

    either have the revolution or hammer down on rule is all…

    hell even France figured it out.

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:30pm
  2. on = one

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:30pm
  3. f*** wyoming

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:31pm
  4. Why are people so against gay marriage? Don’t our governments have more important issues to fix?

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:40pm
  5. We’ve been fighting hard against it, I love Wyoming….I just hate the politics

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:40pm
  6. one step forward and then 5 steps back. what is with the damn government seriously

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:42pm
  7. I guess they don’t live up to the state motto of the “Equality State” huh?

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:47pm
  8. Not a surprise.. the vast majority are hillbilly, republican idiots.

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:51pm
  9. State motto…state’s legislation…?!… HYPOCRITES!!!… note to self: do NOT go to Wyoming.

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 7:57pm
  10. Just get government out marriage already. Why do we want government in control of marriage anyways? True equality can only come through government marriage.

    Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 8:23pm
  11. i didnt know there were even people in Wyoming…

    Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 5:28am