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Wait wait wait wait wait… WYOMING?!?

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2013

Either I’m dreaming, someone has hacked my browser and is playing a big joke, or the movement towards equality is in hypermegaoverdrive. (Jackson Hole Daily)

Laramie Democratic Rep. Cathy Connolly filed legislation late Monday afternoon that would create a path for gay couples to form civil unions or get married.

Okay, that sounds normal. It was the response of some Republicans that has me wondering if April 1 came early.

The dual approach already has won the backing of Reps. Ruth Ann Petroff, R-Jackson, and Gingery. Both Teton County lawmakers said they would prefer to see gay marriage allowed in Wyoming but are willing to debate whether civil unions might be a better way to go.

That would be Catholic Republican Chair of the Judiciary Committee Gingery who did not support marriage in 2007, 2009, or 2012. But, in his words:

“It’s hard for anyone to be against gay marriage when there’s a face to it and that face is a friend or relative,” Gingery said.

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Tybalt
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

Quite heartening…

Ben in Oakland
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

Wouldn’t that be a hoot.

MattNYC
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

I believe that Darth Cheney may have made a few calls…

MattNYC
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

Wouldn’t it be sweetly ironic if Marriage Equality pushed the GOP back towards relevancy? I suppose it’s less distasteful to them than Immigration Reform and some of “The Gays” at least vote for Republicans already…

Patrick
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

Not a surprise at all to anyone who’s been paying attention. The news has been out there for months. Wyoming just happens to be low on media radar.

I’m not sure about marriage, but it’s clear there’s some support for it. Civil unions could very well be in the bag for this session, but nothing’s clear until we have Gov. Mead’s signature.

Gov. Mead has repeatedly signalled support for civil unions.

Wyoming and New Mexico are the only states West of the Mississippi (I’m not counting MN) that have avoided passing some horrid homophobic constitutional amendment. Hopes for such legislation this session seem dim or non-existent. Wyoming activists have been working for two full years to ensure the demise of such proposals (full legislative sessions are held only every two years).

We fully intend to move toward full equality as quickly as possible.

If readers feel any connection to Wyoming, or wish to offer their support, they can start by following this Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wedemandequalityandrespect/?fref=ts

Patrick
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

And by the way, Rep. Gingery and other Republicans were very helpful in the 2011 session. Their votes helped to sink the homophobic and anti-choice legislation that was put forward. The deciding votes against those bills were cast by Republicans.

We expect Republican sponsors or co-sponsors for all bills this session.

Look forward to an ENDA bill too, which may be more of a fight.

jpeckjr
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote, actually in 1869 when still a territory, carried into statehood in 1890. Ideologically, Wyoming leans libertarian in many ways. So I’m not terribly surprised. Plus, I know some advocates have been working diligently and consistently for a number of years, to prevent prohibiting same-sex marriage. Those efforts are obviously paying off.

Would be something to have your wedding at Old Faithful, wouldn’t it?

Timothy Kincaid
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

Patrick, I admit that Wyoming has slipped from my radar. If you know of / hear of something we should present or discuss, please email me and let us know. Thanks.

cowboy
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

Patrick,
Is there any other way to get the information other than via Facebook?

Also, The liberal atmosphere in Jackson can become somewhat diluted because of the distance from Cheyenne.

jpecdkjr,
Neat idea. The new visitor’s center at Old Faithful does resemble a church and the windows framing Old Faithful would be a perfect backdrop.

It would be great to have the “I DOs” timed at precisely the moment the geyser erupts.

Robert
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

There is ONE word in this sentence that makes everything make sense.

“Laramie Democratic Rep. Cathy Connolly filed legislation late Monday afternoon that would create a path for gay couples to form civil unions or get married.”

That word is LARAMIE and one should recall that is where Matthew Shepard was tortured and left to die. That area has seen a boon in support for our rights since that incident happened. It spawned the entire Angel Brigade against Westboro Baptist Church, which was a turning point in our history. I am not surprised that the areas leaders are involved with this law.

If it passes, along with Illinois, it would sem we are surely moving in the right direction.

HG
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

Bad idea. The union of the opposite sex is different in many, many ways from the union of the same sex. There is nothing unfair or illegally discriminatory about marriage. Marriage simply recognizes the union of a man and a woman and respects the differences that set this union apart from same-sex unions.

Patrick
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

@cowboy – it’s true that Teton county is a little more moderate than other counties, but Albany and Laramie counties (where Laramie and Cheyenne are located, respectively) are the seats for the majority of Democrats and Republicans who are sponsoring the 3 bills we will see this January. And a Fremont county Republican helped us sink the homophobic legislative proposals in 2011.

Teton also has the problem of the Star Valley, which is predominantly mormon and sent a local radio host (and BYU grad) to the Legislature.

The ultra-far-right counties are Natrona, Converse, Lincoln and Hot Springs (where a wacko pastor named Watt was elected last fall). We expect that legislators from these counties will waste their time/votes on idiotic bills that no one supports (like the aircraft carrier they wanted to buy in the 2012 budget session because they were worried about Obamageddon).

Most of the extreme right wingers are new and inexperienced. We will do our best to take advantage of that!

Patrick
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

@cowboy – the FB page is a great place to start, as is Equality Wyoming, which as an email list. Like most political organizations in Wyoming, the best ways for finding out what’s going on are personal. That’s why I gave the FB page – it’s a really good start.

John
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

Civil unions is not the way to go. We have tried it here in Rhode Island because our state legislature figured it was the best they could get passed, without even trying for equality on marriage. Very few couples have gone for it. Today it is expected that an equal marriage bill will be introduced that our Independent (former Republican) governor says he would sign.

Also, people forget that in this country marriage is a civil issue and not a religious one.

Snowman
January 15th, 2013 | LINK

@ Patrick: What the hell were they thinking? An aircraft carrier is pretty much useless without access to the ocean. I had to actually google that, because I found it so unbelieveable.

Hyhybt
January 16th, 2013 | LINK

“It would be great to have the “I DOs” timed at precisely the moment the geyser erupts.”—Seems like timing it for the kiss at the end would be better… but perhaps *too* precise.

Gay marriage in Wyoming? Aircraft carriers in landlocked states? I’m going back to bed and will try the computer again after lunch to see if it’s making any more sense!

Patrick
January 16th, 2013 | LINK

@snowman – the aircraft carrier was just hillbilly bait – an amendment maliciously attached to the bill by an ally who wanted to kill it. Since the sponsors were dumb enough to go for it, they get to be remembered as the idiots who wanted an aircraft carrier.

“Unbelievable” is a good word for Wyoming’s Legislature. Fortunately, things seem to be on a slightly better footing this year. No aircraft carrier studies, no anti-gay bills (yet!) and only one anti-choice bill that will almost surely fail. Finally and thankfully, the proposal to allow the sale of silencers in the state (for hunting, wink wink) failed in committee.

It’s not over yet, but things are definitely better this year.

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