Update from Wyoming: Legislature ends with two anti-marriage bills derailed

Got an email from our reader, Kristian, who has been keeping us updated on the anti-gay legislation in his home state of Wyoming. The anti-marriage bills, which looked like they were on the fast track, both died, fortunately:

Thought I would let you know how things have ended up in Wyoming this legislative session.

The Senate bill (SJ5) that would have amended the Wyoming constitution to address marriage as only between a man and woman died last Friday when it failed to be presented for a final reading in the House. This was because after passing the first two readings the bill suddenly lost support as citizen voices peaked against it. The other bill, HB74, the Validity of Marriage bill, which would have changed the Wyoming statutes to not recognize any marriages, even if legal elsewhere, that were not between a man and woman failed Wednesday in the Senate as the two bodies were trying to agree to a concurrence and compromise written up by a conference committee of the Senate and House, the Senate failed to concur by a vote of 14-16.

Wyoming Equality and GetEqual WY as well as many other grassroots organizers and legislators from both parties did a fantastic job pushing back against these two bills and in the end eliminating them.

The troubling part is that this is the farthest these bills have ever gotten, basically a few feet from the finish line and groups such as WyWatch, a Wyoming copy of Focus on the Family, have vowed to focus on knocking off a few seats to change the legislature to their favor.

Representative Cathy Connolly’s three pieces of good legislation; a civil unions bill, a marriage equality bill, and a bill that addressed discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender all failed to advance anywhere, sadly.

At this point while it is a victory for sure to have defeated two ugly pieces of legislation, it is a stalemate in the larger game. Eyes are on 2012 for the state races that will either hold the balance or tip it to someone’s favor – who’s is still up for grabs.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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