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Wyoming Senate advances amendment banning same-sex marriage

The Wyoming Senate [official website] on Thursday voted 20-10 [vote details] in favor of Joint Resolution 5 [text, PDF], the first step to a constitutional amendment that would prevent the state from recognizing same-sex marriages [JURIST news archive] from any jurisdiction. The decision, which was split down party lines, will now advance to the state House of Representatives, where it needs a two-thirds vote to succeed. If approved there, it will need to be signed by Governor Matt Mead [official website] and then appear as a referendum item on the 2012 ballot. The House Judiciary Committee on Friday also voted 5-4 [Star-Tribune report] to defeat House Bill 150 [text, PDF], which would have recognized civil unions [JURIST news archive] in the state. Wyoming already has a statutory ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions, but currently recognizes those from other states.

The Wyoming House approved legislation Monday [JURIST report] that would prevent Wyoming from recognizing same-sex marriages and civil unions performed out of state. House Bill 74, Validity of Marriage [text, PDF] was passed by a 32-27 House vote and will now be turned over to the Senate. The act has been described as a backup [Billings Gazette report] in case the constitutional amendment fails, a concern based on the slim vote margin for the House bill. The House has rejected similar legislation [Star-Tribune report] twice in recent years. Opponents of the bill organized an "Equality Rally" in Casper, Wyoming to protest the legislation [Star-Tribune report]. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, DC [JURIST reports].

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