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Wyoming state Senate votes to prohibit recognition of same-sex unions

Saturday, February 19, 2011
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming state Senate on Friday voted in favor of House Bill 74, which would prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed outside the state.

But the Senate also amended the bill to specify that same-sex couples who entered civil unions or marriage contracts in other states could still access Wyoming courts to resolve any disputes that arise in their relationships.

Because of the amendment, the bill will now head back to the House to approve the changes. The House passed the legislation last month by a vote of 32-27.

Proponents of the bill say they want to preserve the traditional definition of marriage in the state. But opponents say the bill is an attack on gay and lesbian citizens.

“It seems to me that there are outside entities that are trying to come into the Equality State of Wyoming to try to dictate some of this bigotry and hatred,” Sen. John Hastert, D-Green River, said during the debate.

Meanwhile, there are indications that a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage — Senate Joint Resolution 5 — may not pass the Wyoming House, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.

The anti-gay marriage amendment, which passed the Senate 20-10 late last month, has been languishing in the House for the past week.

House Majority Leader Tom Lubnau (R-Gillette), who controls when bills are voted on, said Friday that he hasn’t decided whether to bring up SJR5 before next Friday’s deadline.

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