Colorado group pushing for anti-gay-marriage bill in Wyoming

Posted on 22 Jan 2009 at 6:45pm
By Ben Neary Associated Press

Lawmaker says he has heard from several people who got the calls and asked him to oppose the measure

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A national conservative Christian group has begun a telephone lobbying campaign in Wyoming in support of a gay-marriage ban in the state Senate.

Focus on the Family Action, of Colorado Springs, Colo., is pushing to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would stop the state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

"We want to see marriages protected," said Sonja Swiatkiewicz, director of issues response for Focus on the Family Action. She said the calls began Friday, Jan. 16, but she would not disclose the cost or number of calls.

State law already says only marriages between a man and a woman may be conducted in Wyoming. However, the state is bound to recognize same-sex marriages and civil unions performed in other states.

Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only states that allow gay marriage. Gay marriages are not allowed elsewhere, and 30 states have taken the extra step of entrenching the ban in their state constitution.

Lobbying by out-of-state groups was cited as a key factor in the passing of a measure prohibiting gay marriage in California in November.

"I feel like the Focus on the Family has just moved into the state and wants to see this happen, and I hate to see us go in that direction," Bob Spencer, a spokesman for Wyoming Equality.

The calls have targeted voters in districts represented by some members of the Senate Education Committee, where the resolution has been assigned. No committee vote has been scheduled because there isn’t enough support for it to pass, said co-sponsor Sen. Curt Meier, R-LaGrange.

"I’ve heard from several people in Laramie asking me to support the bill," said Sen. Mike Massie, D-Laramie, who opposes the bill. "But I’ve also heard from several people who received the calls and contacted me specifically to ask me to vote against it."

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