Wyoming Senate Advances Anti-Gay Marriage Bill, Opens Door to Civil Union Recognition

An bill that would bar recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere received a second reading and approval in the Wyoming Senate yesterday. 

Wyoming The bill, in its original form would have prohibited the state from recognizing same-sex marriages and civil unions:

However, the Senate approved an amendment by the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Curt Meier, R-LaGrange, to take out language that would prohibit recognition of out-of-state civil unions.

Meier said the language, inserted by the House before it sent the bill to the Senate, is confusing. And since civil unions aren't recognized under Wyoming law now, he said, there's no need to ban something that legally doesn't exist.

This entire effort is receiving the most resistance from Republican state senator Cale Case, who proposed a $200,000 appropriation for road signs that would alert visitors from out-of-state: "Warning: your marriage or civil union may be void or voidable in Wyoming. Proceed with extreme caution."

Case Case railed against the anti-gay measures:

“We should kill this bill. We should kill it right now,” [Case] said. “We should kill it because it’s not very well thought out. It has enormous practical implications.”[…]

“What about the millions of people that visit Wyoming? That just come for vacation,” he said. “We’re so proud of our visitors, now we’re going to say all of you visitors who happen to be from another state, when you come across the border, you’re magically not together any more. ‘Poof.’ It’s gone. Don’t get into a car wreck. If you’re in a hospital and you’re dying, and your partner is with you, we’re going to have to call your mother because that’s the nearest relative that we’re going to recognize under Wyoming (law) to make decisions about your life.”[…]

“Gays and lesbians live and work among us. They’re also soldiers in the military,”he said. “They’ve been here and talked about their service in Iraq and … now you’re going to deny them the benefits (of marriage of civil unions).”[…]

A final vote is scheduled for today before the bill heads to the Governor's desk for signature.

Posted February 18, 2011 at 9:07am ETC by Andy Towle
in gay marriage, News, Wyoming