Wyo. Advances Anti–Gay Marriage Bill
BY Julie Bolcer
January 21 2011 11:25 AM ET
The Wyoming house advanced a bill Thursday that would bar the state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, one of several equality-related measures to be considered in this legislative session.
According to the Billings Gazette, “The proposal, which previous legislatures have killed, passed on its first hearing with 34 votes. The bill, House Bill 74, must now pass two additional House votes before it would head to the Senate for consideration.”
State representative Owen Petersen, a Republican from Mountain View, sponsors the antigay bill. He wants to resolve an apparent conflict in state law that defines marriage as a contract between a man and a woman, while also recognizing any marriage validly performed outside the state.
A similar bill was defeated in 2009 and 2007, according to the Gazette, but 12 opponents of the measure in 2009 have retired or been defeated.
Also being considered is a senate bill that proposes a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and bills to legalize marriage equality and civil unions. Wyoming is the home state of former vice president Dick Cheney, who supports marriage equality when passed by state governments and has a lesbian daughter. The state also was the home of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student brutally murdered in 1998 and namesake of federal hate-crimes legislation.