LGBT rights in Wyoming

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LGBT rights in Wyoming
Wyoming (USA)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1977
Gender identity/expression State does not require sex reassignment surgery to alter sex on birth certificate
Discrimination protections None (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
Same-sex marriage
Adoption No restrictions

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Wyoming face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity and same-sex marriage are legal in Wyoming.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Wyoming is the only U.S. state that has no published sodomy cases.[1]

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Wyoming since February 1977.[2] The age of consent for all consensual sexual activity is 18.[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Marriage[edit]

Wyoming has recognized same-sex marriage since October 21, 2014, following the decision of state officials not to appeal a federal court decision that found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.[4] Wyoming previously recognized the legal relationships of same-sex couples only for the purpose of divorce. It had prohibited same-sex marriage by statute since 1977 and had enacted a more explicit ban in 2003.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead said that the state will continue to defend its ban despite action by the U.S. Supreme Court on October 6, 2014, which left standing as binding precedent on courts in Wyoming rulings of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that found bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.[5] In the case of Guzzo v. Mead, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled for the plaintiffs challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage on October 17. [6] His ruling took effect on October 21 when state officials notified the court that they would not appeal his ruling.[7]

Domestic partnership[edit]

On January 14, 2013, legislators filed a bill creating domestic partnerships to allow same-sex couples to "obtain the rights, responsibilities, protections and legal benefits provided in Wyoming for immediate family members." Legislators who favor same-sex marriage supported the legislative tactic of offering the alternatives.[8] Governor Matt Mead said he favored domestic partnerships. On January 28, a House committee approved the domestic partnership bill 7-2.[9] The House rejected domestic partnerships on January 30, 2013 in a 24-35 vote.[10]

Discrimination protections[edit]

There are no laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. On January 31, 2011, the state House rejected a bill banning such discrimination.[11] Likewise, on January 31, 2013, the state Senate rejected a similar bill by a vote of 15 to 13.[12]

Hate crimes legislation[edit]

Wyoming does have a hate crimes law.[13][14] In 1999, following the murder of Matthew Shepard near Laramie, Wyoming, such legislation was "hotly debated." Proponents of such legislation since then have preferred the term "bias crime."[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The History of Sodomy Laws in the United States - Wyoming". Glapn.org. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  2. ^ William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201n, available online, accessed April 10, 2011
  3. ^ TITLE 6 - CRIMES AND OFFENSES
  4. ^ Moen, Bob (October 21, 2014). "Wyoming Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage". ABC news. Associated Press. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ Hancock, Laura (October 6, 2014). "Mead says Supreme Court move has no impact on Wyoming's gay marriage case". Casper Star Tribune. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Order". Scribd.com. U.S. District Court for Wyoming. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ Moen, Bob (October 21, 2014). "Wyoming Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage". ABC news. Associated Press. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ Huelsmann, Kevin (January 15, 2013). "Lawmakers back gay marriage, union bills". Jackson Hole News and Guide. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  9. ^ Celock, John (January 29, 2013). "Wyoming Legislative Committee Rejects Gay Marriage, Passes Domestic Partnerships". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Wyoming House defeats domestic partnership bill". Billings Gazette. January 30, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  11. ^ "H.B. No. 0142". Legisweb.state.wy.us. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  12. ^ Barron, Joan. "Wyoming Senate defeats gay discrimination bill," trib.com, 31 January 2013, accessed 1 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Wyoming Hate Crimes Law," hrc.org, accessed 1 February 2013.
  14. ^ a b Rule, Juliette (October 5, 2003). "Bias-crime law a hard sell in Wyoming". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Retrieved January 25, 2013.