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Wyoming Hub



04/19/2007


Wyoming Asks Judge to Dismiss Challenge to Gay Marriage Ban

The state of Wyoming is asking a U.S. District judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by four gay couples last month challenging the state's ban on gay marriage.

The AP reports: Wyoming

The plaintiffs are the Cheyenne-based gay rights group Wyoming Equality and four couples — two who were married outside Wyoming and two who want to wed in Wyoming. Their lawsuit seeks to force state officials to recognize gay marriages performed outside Wyoming and to allow gay couples to marry inside the state.

In its response, the AG's Office denies many of the plaintiffs' claims. For example, it denies that the state's position on the same-sex marriage issue violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples and subjects them to "second-class" status relative to the rest of the people in the state.


Former GOP Senator Alan Simpson Pushes for Marriage Equality in New Nationwide Ad: VIDEO

Simpson

Former Senator Alan Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming, stars in a new ad from Freedom to Marry urging voters and lawmakers to "live and let live" and allow gays and lesbians to marry.

Says Simpson in the spot:

“I’m a Republican. The party’s basic core is, government out of your life and the right to be left alone. Whether you’re gay or lesbian or straight, if you love someone and you want to marry them, marry them. I've had a wonderful married life. Why shouldn't someone else have the joy of marriage? Live and let live."

The ad, backed with a six-figure buy, will be aired nationally on Fox, MSNBC and CNN and locally in Wyoming, Oklahoma and Colorado, according to Politico.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Former GOP Senator Alan Simpson Pushes for Marriage Equality in New Nationwide Ad: VIDEO" »


Statewide Campaign for Marriage Equality Kicks Off in Wyoming

Artery

A new statewide educational campaign to help build support for marriage equality kicked off on the steps of the Capitol building in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Monday.

WyomingThe initiative, Wyoming Unites for Marriage, is launching in conjunction with the recent suit filed by four gay couples who are challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in court. Casper Star-Tribune reports:

Jeran Artery (pictured, above), chairman of Wyoming Equality, said advocates will hold rallies and discussions throughout the state to build support for the lawsuit and their goal -- to make civil unions between same-sex couples legal in the state.

"As that case makes it way through the courts, there is nothing more important that we can do than have meaningful conversations about why marriage matters to all of Wyoming's families," Artery told supporters Monday.

"At the end of the day, marriage for same-sex couples is about treating others like we would like to be treated," he added. "In Wyoming right now, loving same-sex couples and their families are being denied the protections that only marriage can provide."

LogoRep. Dan Zwonitzer, a Cheyenne Republican who spoke during the rally, says the shifting attitudes among many of his colleagues in the GOP, especially its younger members, means gay marriage will likely be a non-issue within the next 10 years.

“Every year, the Republican Party’s support increases for same-sex marriage, and in the next decade I don’t think it will be an issue anymore,” he said. “It’s a challenge for us in Wyoming to work with the party and work with everyone to get behind the issue.”

Hopefully the Equality State will be able to live up to its namesake sooner, rather than later...


Wyoming Lawmaker Stands by Book Claiming Gays Use AIDS as a Weapon Against Straight People

Wyoming state Rep. Troy Mader is standing by a book he wrote three decades ago during the AIDS crisis which advocated quarantine for sexually active gay men and warns that they prey on children, the Casper Star-Tribune reports:

MaderMader said in an interview with the Star-Tribune the research featured in the book may be a little outdated, since it was written when HIV and AIDS were still relatively new to the medical community. But he still maintains gays are more likely to be promiscuous that heterosexuals, contributing to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

“If you want to participate in that particular lifestyle, that’s your choice,” he said during a telephone interview. “But I reserve the right to say, ‘Hey, there’s risk involved.’”

The AP notes that part of the thesis of the self-published The Death Sentence of AIDS: Vital Information For You and Your Family’s Health and Safety, is that gays use AIDS as a weapon against straight people:

Among the claims in the book are, “[h]omosexuals…purposely infected women to pass AIDS infection into the straight population,” and that “[m]any homosexuals demand the right to have sexual acts with children of any age, including infants.”

The Star-Tribune adds:

The book is mostly comprised of quotes that Mader compiled from sources ranging from Newsweek to “What Homosexuals Do (It’s More than Disgusting),” a publication by Paul Cameron, who is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-gay propagandist. The law center is an organization that investigates what it describes as acts of hate.

Mader's views on marriage are equally archaic:

“I’ll be honest with you: We don’t have standing to change the definition of marriage,” he said. “We didn’t make it. Either nature did, if you believe in evolution, or God did, if you believe in the Bible. But either way, it happened at a time and we can’t effect that change.”

Marriage between one man and one woman has been the pillar of society since the beginning of history, he said.

“And we can play words semantics all we want, but we don’t have the standing to change it,” he said. “It will remain the same regardless of what any legislature does.”

Mader was sworn in this year to represent House District 52 after the death of GOP Rep. Sue Wallis.


Four Couples File Suit Challenging Wyoming's Gay Marriage Ban

Four gay couples and Wyoming Equality filed suit today challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, NCLR reports:

WyomingThe couples include a university professor, a Major in the Army Reserve, a sheepherder, and an attorney. Many of the Plaintiffs were born and raised in Wyoming.

The lawsuit challenges Wyoming’s statute barring same-sex couples from marrying and the state’s refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states, arguing that they violate the Wyoming Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

The couples are Cora Courage and Wyoma “Nonie” Proffit of Evanston, Carl Oleson and Rob Johnston of Casper, Anne Guzzo and Bonnie Robinson of Laramie, and Ivan Williams and Chuck Killion of Cheyenne. Wyoming Equality is the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Wyoming’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Its members include same-sex couples throughout the state.

The four couples and Wyoming Equality are represented by Cheyenne attorney Tracy Zubrod, the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, the law firm of Rathod Mohamedbahi LLC, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Read the complaint and more about the case here.


Wyoming House Rejects Marriage Equality Bill in 41-17 Vote

ConnollyWyoming's House of Representatives has voted 41-17 to reject a bill that would have given gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry, the Casper Star-Tribune reports:

House Bill 87, sponsored by Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, would have changed the law that says marriage is a contract between a male and female to marriage being a contract between two natural persons.

...Connolly, who is openly gay, said there are 12,877 gay people in Wyoming. On a personal note, she said she’s lived in Wyoming for two decades and has chosen to raise her son here.

“If I want to get married to the woman that I love, I want to do it here,” she said.


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