As Rachel noted, the actual small government, pro keep the government the hell out of your personal lives conservatives in Wyoming did something that would make most liberals proud. They rejected a bill that would have prevented same-sex marriages from being recognized that originated outside of their state.
A bill that would prevent Wyoming from recognizing same-sex marriages outside the state died Wednesday.
The state Senate on Wednesday defeated a compromise on a bill that would have defined marriage in Wyoming as between one man and one woman.
The Senate voted 16 to 14 to reject compromise language to House Bill 74- Validity of Marriages, which would not have allowed recognition of same-sex marriages from outside Wyoming.
The state House had approved the compromise a few hours earlier in a 31-28 vote with one representative excused.
On Tuesday, a conference committee reached the proposed compromise after the House and Senate could not agree initially.
The compromise was a lot like the bill the House approved initially. It removed Senate language that said couples from same-sex marriages or civil unions could access the courts to resolve disputes in their relationships.
The bill now is essentially dead. Legislative rules do allow the Senate president to appoint another conference committee to work out differences. But that seems unlikely, given that the Legislature plans to wrap things up this morning.
The close vote in the House came after some emotional debate.
Rep. Owen Peterson, R-Mountain View, spoke in favor of the compromise. He said there is a void in state law that needs to be resolved.
A statute on the books since 1876 says marriage is between one man and one woman. But the law also recognizes foreign marriages. Peterson said the lawmakers back then didn't contemplate the types of relationships that exist now.
The law restricts marriage in Wyoming to a man and a woman. But it also recognizes legal marriages performed elsewhere.
Rep. Pete Illoway, R-Cheyenne, said the existing law doesn't need to be changed. He encouraged representatives to vote against the compromise.
"People are equal, whether you agree with their lifestyle or not," he said. "People that you may not agree with are still people."
HB 74 "is not good for our legacy as the Equality State," said Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff, R-Jackson. "This bill does nothing more than to strip away liberty that had been granted by other states." Read on...