Wyoming House Passes Ban on Recognition of Same-Sex Unions

Wyoming's HB 74 passed the House on its third reading Monday. The bill bans recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions from outside the state:

Wyoming House Bill 74 now heads to the Senate, where its chances for passage appear good.

State Rep. Owen Petersen, R-Mountain View, the bill's sponsor, said the legislation is needed to resolve a conflict in Wyoming law, which defines marriage as a contract "between a male and a female person" but also recognizes any valid marriage performed outside the state. Other supporters have said the bill will help to hold back government intrusion into Wyoming traditions and culture.

Opponents said the bill is unnecessary, violates the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, and would create havoc for legally married out-of-state gay couples traveling in Wyoming.


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NM Atty. Gen. Issues Legal Opinion on Marriage Recognition

Yesterday, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King issued a sound legal opinion [pdf] analyzing New Mexico’s marriage comity laws and concluding that the state can recognize marriages between two people of the same sex performed outside of the state.  The opinion was a response to an inquiry by New Mexico State Representative Al Park (D-Albuquerque) that asked whether same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions are valid in New Mexico.  A key portion of the opinion explains,  “While we cannot predict how a New Mexico court would rule on this issue, after review of the law in this area, it is our opinion that a same-sex marriage that is valid under the laws of the country or state where it was consummated would likewise be found valid in New Mexico.”

This opinion does not  address the ability of same-sex couples to marry in New Mexico, and at this point it is unclear the weight which the opinion will be given by the state government and courts.  New Mexico state law neither specifically prohibits nor permits same-sex couples to legally marry.

Both Maryland and New York  provide marriage rights to same-sex couples married out of jurisdiction while not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples within the state. In February 2007, the Rhode Island Attorney General issued an advisory opinion declaring that the state could recognize out of jurisdiction marriages. However, the following December, the  Rhode Island Supreme Court refused to grant a divorce to a same-sex couple legally married in Massachusetts.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Wyoming GOP Plans To Block Recognition Of Gay Marriages From Other States

GOP lawmakers in Wyoming plan to introduce legislation banning the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. Such a move failed in 2009, but the plan is to put the issue to voters.

State law defines marriage as a legal union between a man and woman, but Wyoming also recognizes marriages performed in other states. Rep. Owen Petersen of Mountain View says that raises questions about what happens when gay couples from other states move to Wyoming. Petersen and Sen. Curt Meier of LaGrange say they plan to co-sponsor a resolution that would let voters decide whether to amend the state constitution to clarify.

Joe. My. God.

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