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Same-sex marriage bills nixed in House

Feb 14, 2014 - By Ben Neary, The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming House on Thursday defeated bills on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue.

The House first defeated a bill that would have changed state law to allow same-sex marriages.

Later, it defeated another bill that would have specified that that Wyoming wouldn't recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, sponsored the bill to permit same-sex marriages.

The bill would have removed the state's current legal specification that marriage is a civil contract between a man and a woman.

Connolly, a lesbian and a professor at the University of Wyoming, said that the federal government now recognizes all marriages, whether they're between people of different sexes or the same sex.

Connolly said there are thousands of people in Wyoming who are in same-sex relationships and are raising children.

"I don't want to leave Wyoming to get married," Connolly said. "Wyoming is my chosen home. I've lived here for over two decades.

"It's where I've spent my entire professional career. It's where I've raised my son. It's the state I love and serve."

Rep. Mark Baker, R-Rock Springs, spoke against the bill. He said the Legislature shouldn't try to impose such a massive social change on the state.

Connolly should ask Wyoming voters to change the state constitution if she wants to, he said.

The state later Thursday voted down a bill sponsored by Casper Republican Rep. Gerald Gay that would have specified that Wyoming wouldn't recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Cheyenne Rep. Dan Zwonitzer spoke against the bill, saying the "Equality State" shouldn't take a step backward.

The House voted against introducing the bill by a vote of 31-to-29.

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