Wyoming House Rejects Domestic Partnership Bill in 35-24 Vote

The first pro-gay legislation that has reached Wyoming's House floor for debate was defeated Wednesday as the House voted 35-24 to reject a domestic partnership bill that would have given same-sex couples in the state the opportunity to gain most of the legal rights of marriage,

WyomingThe Billings Gazette reports:

Opponents warned that the bill threatened to open the state to legal action seeking to force it to approve same-sex marriage.

Rep. Mark Baker, R-Rock Springs, spoke against the measure, saying: "We all know that this is about same-sex marriage and civil unions." Baker also contended gays and lesbians have particular health issues, and said approving the bill would increase health care costs.

"The fact of the matter is that this is something that's pushed on us to be politically correct. 'Let's be the Equality State,'" Baker said, mimicking bill supporters. "The fact of the matter is that there are disastrous consequences to this bill."

Jason Marsden, director of the Denver-based Matthew Shepard Foundation, said the vote was disappointing. He said the bill had offered the Legislature a chance to sidestep the issues of religion, marriage and social tradition while still recognizing that there are thousands of gay people in the state. "These families are going to live and grow up and die in the absence of meaningful legal protection for their families," Marsden said.

Comments

  1. mike8787 says

    Do we expect more? The failure carries over to those pushing for the bill, who either did not predict these obvious and derogatory “arguments” against domestic partnerships, or didn’t prepare properly.

    Health care costs go up because of domestic partnerships? I’m not saying the bigoted state legislators against domestic partnerships would listen to these evidence of how absurd that is, but at least do the footwork so the papers, the listeners, and the on the fence legislators are forced to hear how ludicrous it is.

  2. Paul R says

    Don’t trust anyone from Rock Springs. My mother was born there and says she’ll never go back. Same with Caspar, Cheyenne, and Laramie. Wyo is an odd place, and that this even was debated is surprising.

    Go to Yellowstone and search for jackalopes.

  3. RyanInWyo says

    Paul R: Thanks for the blanket comment about the people in the state where I live. Thank you for degrading and dismissing the many good folks who live in Wyoming based upon something your mother told you about Rock Springs. Thank you for dismissing my friends Bill and Scott. Thank you for dismissing Jim and Jesse, my friends who are expecting their first child in a few months. Thank you for dismissing their surrogate, Jami – a fabulous lesbian. Thank you for dismissing Teena and her husband Chad, who have been some of the kindest, most hospitable people I’ve ever met (and I’ve been around a bit). Thank you for dismissing all of my students at the University of Wyoming who, like most young people their age elsewhere, see gay rights as a no-brainer. Thank you for dismissing me. It’s always a shame to watch gay folks perpetuating stereotypes. It’s a special (and not particularly enjoyable) kind of perversion.

    My Republican state representative voted IN FAVOR of domestic partnerships. In fact, even though the legislature is dominated by Republicans, it would have only taken 6 votes (out of a total of 60) to flip our way in order for this measure to pass. Giving up on states that you have decided are too backwards is not a very useful strategy. It’s not good in the short term for people who could really use some legal recognition right now. It’s not good in the long term, either, as it’s quite possible that marriage will remain a state issue rather than a federal one.

  4. Jason Marsden says

    Mike8787: I can assure you the supporters of this bill were well-prepared and ran a very inspiring effort that encouraged a great deal more support than there has ever been in the Legislature for protecting same-sex couples and their families. It’s just that Wyoming has a state House with 52 Republicans and 8 Democrats and no such legislation has ever made it to the floor before. It takes time to build support and momentum in such a conservative place, but please don’t cast aspersions on Wyoming Equality and their other coalition partners who achieved a very great deal in even getting this bill debated.

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