Same-sex marriage in Wyoming could come sooner than expected


CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Same-sex marriage could become legal in Wyoming by year’s end after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit it.

wyomingThe justices’ decision to reject appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin immediately ends delays on marriage in those states. It also opens the door for same-sex weddings to begin soon in Wyoming and five other states.

In Wyoming, three same-sex couples and the gay rights group Wyoming Equality are suing in state court for the right to marry. Laramie County District Court Judge Thomas Campbell scheduled a Dec. 15 hearing on their arguments.

The case is similar but not identical to those in federal court, and people fighting for gay marriage in Wyoming were hesitant to declare unconditional victory.

“We think that’s a great sign and helpful to our case,” said James Lyman, an attorney representing the Wyoming same-sex couples. “That said, we don’t have any federal claims in our case, so it’s not dispositive of the Wyoming state law issues that we’ve raised.”

The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office will continue to defend the state constitution’s definition of marriage as between a man and woman, Gov. Matt Mead said in a statement.

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“The case procedure and deadlines previously identified are not affected by the Supreme Court ruling,” he said of the Wyoming case.

In the meantime, two county clerks said they have no plans to proceed with unilaterally issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“Until there is a change in our state law, or a concise decision that would actually be a Supreme Court decision in the form of a court order, we’re going to continue offering marriage licenses under the current law,” said Renea Vitto, Natrona County clerk and president of the Wyoming County Clerk’s Association.

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