Wyoming Senate approves bill banning same-sex marriage recognition

Wyoming Senate approves bill banning same-sex marriage recognition

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[JURIST] The Wyoming Senate [official website] on Friday approved a bill [text, PDF], that would void in Wyoming any same-sex marriages and civil unions [JURIST news archive] performed in other jurisdictions. Although House Bill 74, Validity of Marriage, passed with a vote of 16-14, the Senate amended [text of amendments] the bill to allow couples to use the state court system to resolve marital disputes:

Parties to a domestic or other legal civil union lawfully entered into in another state, commonwealth, territory, district or possession of the United States or a foreign nation, which are not recognized as a marriage under the laws of Wyoming, shall be entitled to access to the courts of the state for the purposes or resolving disputes that arise out of their domestic or other legal civil union.

Due to the amendments, the bill, which was previously approved by the House [JURIST report], must return to House for a new vote, likely to occur next week [Casper Star-Tribune report].

In addition to House Bill 74, the Wyoming legislature is also considering a state constitutional amendment [JURIST report] to ban recognition of same-sex marriage. The bill has been described as a backup [Billings Gazette report] in case the constitutional amendment fails. Wyoming currently does not allow same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, DC. Civil unions were recently approved in Illinois, and Hawaii [JURIST reports] has pending legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.