LGBT rights in Wyoming

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LGBT rights in Wyoming
Map of USA WY.svg
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
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 relationships[edit]

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

Wyoming decriminalized consensual sodomy in February 1977.[2] The age of consent for all consensual sexual activity is 17.[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[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]

Map of Wyoming counties and cities that have sexual orientation and/or gender identity anti–employment discrimination ordinances
  Sexual orientation and gender identity with anti–employment discrimination ordinance
  Sexual orientation and gender identity solely in public employment
  Sexual orientation in public employment

There are no state 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] There is an anti-discrimination ordinance for the City of Laramie that protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.[13]

At the start of the 2015 legislative session, a business coalition, Compete Wyoming, was formed to push for LGBT anti-discrimination laws.[14][15] On February 3, 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved 6–1 a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill, SF 115, contains a religious exemption, unlike bills that failed in previous legislative sessions. On February 10, the full Senate approved the bill on a 24–6 vote.[16][17] On February 20, the bill was approved by House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee, by 6-2 margin.[18][19] On February 24, 2015, the House rejected the bill, in 26-33 vote.[20][21]

Hate crimes legislation[edit]

Wyoming does have a hate crimes law.[22][23] 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."[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The History of Sodomy Laws in the United States - Wyoming". 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
  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". 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". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  12. ^ Barron, Joan. "Wyoming Senate defeats gay discrimination bill,", 31 January 2013, accessed 1 February 2013.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "New coalition pushes anti-discrimination law for Wyoming". Star Tribune. January 8, 2015. 
  15. ^ Compete Wyoming
  16. ^ "Wyoming Senate approves bill to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination". LGBTQ Nation. February 10, 2015. 
  17. ^ SF 115
  18. ^ "Lawmaker kicked out of meeting as committee clears LGBT anti-discrimination bill". Casper Star-Tribune. February 20, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Wyoming House panel advances bill to ban LGBT discrimination". LGBTQ Nation. February 20, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Wyoming's "Anti-Discrimination" Bill Fails". KGWN-TV. February 24, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Wyoming House shoots down LGBT anti‑discrimination bill". LGBTQ Nation. February 24, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Wyoming Hate Crimes Law,", accessed 1 February 2013.
  23. ^ a b Rule, Juliette (October 5, 2003). "Bias-crime law a hard sell in Wyoming". Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Retrieved January 25, 2013.