Gay Marriage | News | Wyoming

Wyoming House Panel Rejects Marriage Equality Bill in 5-4 Vote, but Advances Domestic Partnership Bill

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The Wyoming House Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee rejected HB169, a marriage equality bill, in a 5-4 vote, before advancing HB 168, a domestic partnership bill, to the full House in a 7-2 vote this afternoon.

An update from Wyoming Equality: Wyoming

The law, which was authored by Representative Cathy Connolly, would provide essential protections to LGBT families. The Domestic Partnerships Rights and Responsibilities Act (HB168) would ensure that both opposite-sex and same-sex couples have basic legal protections, such as the ability to make emergency medical decisions for each other and to make joint decisions about their children’s health and wellbeing.

"This is a historic day for equality," said Jeran Artery, the Chair of Wyoming Equality. "Today marks the first time a bill has moved forward in the Wyoming legislature which would provide essential protections for LGBT families."

Mr. Artery provided testimony to the committee, explaining that the laws would not only protect his partner and his teenage daughter, but all families across the state. "We know that there are LGBT people living in nearly every county across the state, and many of those people are raising families. All families deserve to live safely and securely without fear that basic decisions about their loved ones will not be honored. We know there is still a lot of work to do, but we applaud the actions of this committee and are committed to working with our lawmakers to ensure that legal protections are extended to all families throughout Wyoming."

HB168 will now move to the full House of Representatives as early as tomorrow.

Here's the bill.

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Comments

  1. What wonderful American representatives. We do not approve of 1st class rights for gay American citizens, but 2nd class rights for gay American citizens are slightly approved. Yeah Wyoming!

    Posted by: ***** | Jan 28, 2013 4:17:12 PM


  2. Well, I always thought SSM in WY was a pipedream so seeing a 5-4 vote is encouraging. And domestic partnerships are just a bandaid but its better than nothing. Still not expecting it to pass the full house.

    Posted by: KT | Jan 28, 2013 4:19:48 PM


  3. Boooooooo.

    Posted by: Fensox | Jan 28, 2013 4:26:06 PM


  4. Why not KT? 7-2 is a pretty strong vote, and it's been very clear that this bill has strong bipartisan support.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 28, 2013 4:27:04 PM


  5. At least they offered an alternative. "1st class rights?" This isn't an airiplane.

    Posted by: Jess | Jan 28, 2013 5:17:44 PM


  6. At least they offered an alternative. "1st class rights?" This isn't an airiplane.

    Posted by: Jess | Jan 28, 2013 5:17:45 PM


  7. For a state as deep deep red as Wyoming to consider domestic partnerships, it is better than nothing. This is progress.

    Posted by: Sam | Jan 28, 2013 5:20:42 PM


  8. domestic partnerships = meh

    Posted by: David in NYC | Jan 28, 2013 5:50:52 PM


  9. domestic partnerships = meh

    Posted by: David in NYC | Jan 28, 2013 5:50:54 PM


  10. I'll readily plead ignorance, and even bias, when it comes to Wyoming politics. But to this Lefty East Coaster, this looks like really encouraging news. Yeah, DPs suck. But the fact that they passed the committee 7-2 is a very welcome surprise. And the fact that the equality bill only failed by one vote...color me surprised and encouraged there as well.

    Posted by: Lars | Jan 28, 2013 6:21:00 PM


  11. The write-up on Towleroad is a bit misleading. It's true, this is NOT "marriage", and that should be the ultimate goal. But here's what the Wyoming Bill says:

    "For purposes of Wyoming statutes, administrative rule, policy, common law or any other source of civil or criminal law, the term 'spouse' shall include a party to a domestic partnership contract evidenced by a certificate issued pursuant to this chapter."

    This means that EVERYWHERE in Wyoming law where certain rights (and obligations) are given to a "spouse", it includes same-sex domestic partners. You need to look beyond the absence of the label "marriage" and realize that WYOMING is given same-sex "spouses" the same rights that opposite-sex "spouses" have.

    Also, keep in mind that Wyoming is one of the most Republican states in the country. Romney beat Obama by 40%. In the past 60 years, only 1 Democratic presidential nominee has ever carried Wyoming (LBJ in 1964). 52 of 60 State House seats are held by Republicans, and 26 of 30 State Senate seats are held by Republicans.

    The point is that if a state like Wyoming is going to give the rights of a "spouse" to same-sex "domestic partners", this is a huge development for many other states. So yes, let's continue to work for "marriage", but Wyoming is going to do this step by step -- like has been done in other states like Vermont, Maine, etc and Washington DC. Don't trash Wyoming's legislature over this unless they end up refusing to pass it at all.

    Posted by: MiddleoftheRoader | Jan 28, 2013 8:10:01 PM


  12. Even though it's not the step we would have preferred it's a step in the right direction.

    Posted by: CD | Jan 28, 2013 8:14:14 PM


  13. I second MIDDLEOFTHEROADER's comments. If you read the bill, this will give those in domestic partnerships identical rights to those in a marriage, which is pretty remarkable for Wyoming. It's about as far as you can go in terms of relationship recognition without having marriage equality.

    Keep in mind that domestic partnerships are a great stepping stone to marriage equality, so this is really positive news.

    Posted by: Matt N | Jan 28, 2013 9:03:40 PM


  14. Hey, we'd be thrilled with this in Virginia. It's a good first step in a state I didn't expect to see this in for quite awhile.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Jan 28, 2013 9:10:09 PM


  15. This is very exciting! The equality state is beginning to live up to its name. An "everything but marriage" law would be a huge step forward for Wyoming and could propel other similar states to do the same--Western, conservative, but libertarian-leaning states like Montana, Arizona, and Alaska, whose constitutional amendments do not prohibit civil unions equal to marriage.

    Posted by: William | Jan 28, 2013 11:38:21 PM


  16. Wyoming produced Senators Cliff Hansen and Alan Simpson, two of the last reasonable Republicans. (My father worked for both of them.) It's an extraordinary state in many ways, though I couldn't imagine living there.

    Matthew Shepard opened a lot of people's eyes, and the state tends to have a strong "live and let live, and don't meddle in people's lives" attitude that seems to resonate strongest there, Montana, and Idaho.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 28, 2013 11:39:32 PM


  17. @ Jess
    "ATLEAST they offered an alternate?"....really? REALLY?

    No, there is NO such thing as an alternate to civil rights. It's either there or not.

    Posted by: Marley | Jan 29, 2013 3:46:54 AM


  18. Civil unions are not equal to marriage. Never have been, never will.
    They just aren't.

    Posted by: St.Louis Bee | Jan 29, 2013 3:47:32 AM


  19. It's a little odd to me to be celebrating "domestic partnership" (partnership? no, he's the love of my life, and has been for 17 years now)

    Especially in 2013.

    Call me a downer, but I'm past jumping for joy for a "domestic partnership" and if you were in our situation, and in our state, you would be too.

    Posted by: Goxianz | Jan 29, 2013 3:50:01 AM


  20. While this is good news, I have seen many states adopt civil unions/domestic partnerships and leave it at that, and not pursue marriage equality due to the fact that "well, you all already have your civil unions. Be happy with that"
    With civil unions sometimes comes complacency.

    Posted by: USC Trojans Fan | Jan 29, 2013 3:53:54 AM


  21. I don't like how some of you all are wording this news though. I mean, if I were a Conservative blogger lurking on here and reading comments that said:
    'This is amazing news! We got everything but marriage! Fantastic stuff.'
    I'd pretty much be able to quote you all and make a case for everything but marriage perfectly being valid law mandated in all states. And it's not. There is something to a title. To a name. To an institution. And telling one demographic they are worthy of a higher title-marriage-, while telling another demographic they have to have a bootleg name for their relationships defeats the whole purpose of equality. I guess you can quasi celebrate this without the need to word your sentiments as 'everything but marriage works great!'......................Umm, no, not really. At least not for many of us. You're welcome to speak for yourself though.

    Posted by: LAX | Jan 29, 2013 3:58:46 AM


  22. This would be a huge step forward in one of the most solidly Republican states in the nation.

    Posted by: DB | Jan 29, 2013 3:08:33 PM


  23. One of South Africa’s great hoteliers is famously quoted as saying, “I only employ staff with a sunny disposition” - and how right she is.

    Posted by: term paper writers | Jan 29, 2013 3:16:00 PM


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