Anti-gay marriage bill defeated in Senate
(Laramie Daily Boomerang)
A bill that would have banned recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of state was defeated Wednesday in the Wyoming Senate.
The Senate voted 16-14 to reject concurrence on House Bill 74, thereby ending weeks of passionate debate that took place in both houses of the Wyoming Legislature.
Laramie Sens. Phil Nicholas and Chris Rothfuss voted against the bill.
The Senate vote followed action in the state House of Representatives, where HB 74 passed on a 31-28 vote. Laramie Reps. Kermit Brown, Matt Greene, Glenn Moniz and Cathy Connolly voted against the bill.
HB 74 states marriage contracts from out-of-state are valid in Wyoming so long as they involve one man and one woman.
While current state law says marriage only exists between one man and one woman in Wyoming, it does allow for the recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions performed out of state.
HB 74 was amended numerous times after it was introduced last month. The Senate removed much of the language referring to civil unions and also allowed couples in civil unions to have access to the courts to resolve disputes. The subsection was later removed in a joint committee.
Today, debate in the Senate was short, and it only centered on whether or not HB 74 violated the joint conference committee rules, which the senate president said it did not.
In the House, however, opponents of the bill took to the floor and argued passionately against HB 74.
Rep. Pete Illoway, R-Cheyenne, asked his colleagues to not concur on HB 74.
He cited Article 1, Section 2 of the Wyoming Constitution, which says, “In their inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, all members of the human race are equal.”
“People are equal, whether you agree with their lifestyle or not,” he said.
Illoway said gays and lesbians are parents, siblings, business owners, civic volunteers, health care and social workers, teachers, board members, clergy and Wyoming residents who support the state with their tax dollars.
“They do lots of things,” he said, “so why are we doing what we’re doing?”