same-sex

Wyoming-wide campaign launched for gay marriage

2014-03-18T06:00:00Z 2014-10-06T09:46:11Z Wyoming-wide campaign launched for gay marriageBy JOAN BARRON Star-Tribune capital bureau Casper Star-Tribune Online

CHEYENNE -- A new statewide campaign in support of gay marriage kicked off Monday in front of the Capitol building in Cheyenne.

More than 70 people attended the rally including one of four same-sex couples who recently filed a lawsuit in state court, along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, challenging Wyoming's ban on marriage for gays and lesbians.

"I think this is a landmark in Wyoming and I'm excited to be part of it," said Chuck Killion, who appeared with his partner, Ivan Williams.

Jeran Artery, chairman of Wyoming Equality, said advocates will hold rallies and discussions throughout the state to build support for the lawsuit and their goal -- to make civil unions between same-sex couples legal in the state.

"As that case makes it way through the courts, there is nothing more important that we can do than have meaningful conversations about why marriage matters to all of Wyoming's families," Artery told supporters Monday.

"At the end of the day, marriage for same-sex couples is about treating others like we would like to be treated," he added. "In Wyoming right now, loving same-sex couples and their families are being denied the protections that only marriage can provide."

Citing the national trend, Artery predicted it won't be long before same-sex couples can marry and have equality in Wyoming -- known as the Equality State.

During the rally, three supporters struggled against a brisk wind to hang on to a large banner that read: "Standing on the Side of Love."

Sandy Gaulke of Cheyenne, who held one end of the banner, said the phrase is the name of a national organization that is a branch of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

The organization, she said, works for equal rights and acceptance of people with differences of all types, including gender and disabilities.

Other supporters carried signs that read: "Wyoming United for Marriage."

Another speaker was the Rev. Rodger McDaniel, pastor of Highlands Presbyterian Church.

He said he was at the rally because of his late brother, Robert, who struggled into adulthood trying to avoid being who he was. The masquerade, he said, took a toll on his brother, who suffered from addictions until he finally came out and spent the last 20 years of his life in a devoted, same-sex relationship that should have been a marriage.

"The faith community fundamentally believes that God created us the way we are,” McDaniel said.

Two legislators also spoke. Rep. Mary Throne, a Cheyenne Democrat, said she learned "to neighbor" growing up on a ranch in Campbell County. Throne said her neighbor in the Wyoming House is Rep. Cathy Connolly, a Laramie Democrat and the only openly gay member of the Legislature.

"It's time for us to stand up in Wyoming and be a good neighbor to our gay and lesbian citizens by granting them the freedom to marry," Throne said.

State law regulates the civil contract of marriage and no clergy church or religious organization will ever be forced to perform a ceremony that violates the church's religious beliefs, she stressed.

Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, a Cheyenne Republican, said he has supported same-sex marriage in the 10 years he has served in the Wyoming House. During that time, the Legislature has not passed any anti-gay legislation. He predicted gay marriage will no longer be an issue 10 years from now.

After the rally, Artery said the state lawsuit is the quickest way his organization can get action to legalize gay marriage.

He said supporters are also working on an anti-discrimination bill for the legislative session next January.

In addition to the recently filed state-based lawsuit, oral arguments are set for April 10 in a federal case challenging Utah’s marriage ban. The case is on appeal after a federal judge struck down the ban and recently, several prominent Republicans – including former Wyoming U.S. Senator Alan Simpson – urged the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the lower court's ruling.

A second appeal will be heard April 17 in the 10th Circuit on a similar case from Oklahoma where a federal judge ruled the state’s marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution. The 10th Circuit covers six states, including Wyoming.

Contact Joan Barron at 3007-632-1244 or joan.barron@trib.com.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(20) Comments

  1. Laramie
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    Laramie - March 21, 2014 5:30 pm
    Kool Kat,

    I have been homeless and worked. Wasn't looking for the government to help me out. It was a part of my life that made me stronger. I'm gay and a Wyomingite and if I was still homeless I would want the special interest groups to proceed. I feel like a second class citizen with less rights.

    I'm not saying homelessness isn't a worthwhile pursuit, it is!! But why peruse anything as homelessness has always been an issue and always will be. I'm a member of Wyoming Equality and volunteer at a soup kitchen. So gay issues are not the only thing I care about.

    As for as this pressure coming completely from outside is false. If you go back and read the article, it talks about Wyomingites pressing this. Special interest group Wyoming Equality, Wyoming Legislators and National origination with local support. Sounds Wyoming to me!
  2. wyoming outhouse
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    wyoming outhouse - March 19, 2014 3:03 pm
    The hatred and bias in Wyoming- against "liberal"...against women...against gays...is why this state is last in so many metrics except one: The smartest people leave Wyoming for jobs, culture... and a future (instead of a 19th Century zoo)
  3. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - March 19, 2014 12:10 pm
    Attn thwat, you're correct that, our Constitution is based off "heavenly directives' rather than "earthly behaviors" of special interest. As I understand that your ideology is so severe in nature that, reason from differing views can not be accepted.
    So, as GW Bush used to say, "let's just agree to disagree". And in this case here, in my observation in life tells me that, there are no laws that are laws to enforce, while other laws are "optional" in which you suggest.
    Wyoming laws like the marriage law are "electorate approved" laws whether murder or marriage in this case. So therefore, that is where we apparently completely disagree with each other.. You agree that gays have the right to override [what you see as] optional laws.
  4. whatever
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    whatever - March 19, 2014 11:17 am
    KK, once again it's obvious you have no earthly idea what you are talking about. this latest word salad is a doozy.
    If you are interested in educating yourself on the difference between the state constitution and statute law here's some light reading for you.
    https://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/constitution.aspx
    there's a tab in the upper left corner where you can toggle back and forth b/w the constitution and statute law. perhaps that explains your perpetual confusion but I doubt it.
    Likewise I will not explain this to you again KK but I will sit back and laugh at you making a fool of yourself................again
  5. Lander
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    Lander - March 19, 2014 11:12 am
    Good grief. Same-sex marriage has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion or sex. It has to do with individual rights. If 2 people are in a committed relationship, they should be afforded the same rights as everyone else. This is about hospital visitation, filing taxes, health insurance and respect. The rest of you ninconpoops need to get your heads out of the gutter & stop thinking about sex. The thought of 2 fat people getting it on grosses me out but I don't think about it! As for religion, please keep that to yourself as well.
  6. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - March 19, 2014 10:31 am
    Attn sfrose, the gay community is attempting at overthrowing part of the Wyoming Constitution, as I see this no different than Wyomingites going to other states to change their laws.
    As example, you don't see Wyomingites going to Colorado to set up protest lines and demonstrations against their pot laws. Wyoming has other issues of greater importance, employed Wyoming workers that live homeless right now.
    I suppose I find the timing of the special interests not assisting with "homeless families" wrong, as they want marriage. When workers and their children come to Wyoming and are employed without homes.
    I guess I see things with a little more of a "common sense approach" to what Wyoming is going through right now. Employed new Wyomingites paying taxes but still, homeless. While other call for recognition of their lifestyle.

    I'm calm - but only sounding the bells of alarm. Something gay activists apparently can care less about.
  7. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - March 19, 2014 10:23 am
    Attn wat, in case you weren't ware? All laws in Wyoming have to abide in two ways.
    1) By the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights
    2) By the Wyoming Constitution which abides by the US Constitution.

    This law I continually repeat to some of those that "willfully" ignore Wyoming Constitutional Law, is part of Wyoming Constitution. Or this law would not have to be voted on by the people to place in there.
    Therefore your futile efforts to diminish comment as somehow less than worthy is just a pole of cow dung. For someone who argues the indefensible, you sure know how to throw fits of rage.
    As we all know that the Court in Denver will have to decide if Wyoming is within its Amendment 10 State's Right. And should the court decide to "legislate from the bench" for special interests sakes? This will only grow the divide between Wyomingites and special interests demands.

    Now I refuse to "explain this you again", so please, take heed of what I just said, as its true, only the Wyoming Electorate can change this law. And by calling Wyomingites names as homophobia or other pejoratives goes nowhere in building relations.
  8. IdrahaJe
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    IdrahaJe - March 18, 2014 7:49 pm
    I am curious. Can everyone that posts on these pages read? Or do you only read the 1st sentence and a half, and then reply?

    Many people, including myself, have listed several valid arguments against one homosexual marrying another homosexual. The simple fact is that you do not like the reasons that have been listed.

    There are people on both sides of this that are completely irrational. The Pastor from KS that protested gay funerals would be an example of one on the right. The people that would use this decision to intentionally hurt people of any faith are on the left.

    Science needs to be completely reworked in order to make this proposal valid. At this point, the opening that we all rid our body of waste through is a one way valve. Notice that little dot, called a period, after the word Valve? That mean that is the end of the conversation.

  9. Gunnysack
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    Gunnysack - March 18, 2014 5:28 pm
    The really interesting question is why the State of Wyoming has any laws licensing and thereby conferring benefits on private contractual partnerships such as "marriage." The law requires that parents support their children whatever their "marital" status, so that's not the issue.

    The solution here is to repeal laws related to marriage and the tax and other benefits associated therewith. If two people want to have their partnership acknowledge, they can go to church or to some other non-governmental venue, which can decide whether the gender (or the species, for that matter) of the participants matters. But get the government out of this!
  10. whatever
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    whatever - March 18, 2014 5:25 pm
    KK, how many times do you need to be told that the language you are quoting does not appear in the Wyoming constitution?
    you are quoting wyoming statute law, which is soon to be ruled unconstitutional.

    since your're so fond of copying and pasting from the US Constitution here's the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. FYI KK that comes AFTER the 10th amendment.

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
  11. sfrose
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    sfrose - March 18, 2014 5:24 pm
    Calm down "Kool Kat" you're about to pop a cork! Please...times, things change. Why would anyone care less if same sex couples want to marry? Marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just hold your kitties! Most will end up angry and divorced anyway.
  12. Kool Kat
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    Kool Kat - March 18, 2014 5:06 pm
    Oh my gosh, here we go "activists and gays " attempting to seize Wyoming and by damning Wyoming's Constitution for its laws that have lasted for well over 100 years. We have transients and families without home and trying to survive but, somehow the special interests demand their cause to be more noble.
    Wyoming's priorities are Wyoming's as far as a sovereign state goes and to heckle the people of Wyoming is just ludicrous. Wyoming's laws are Constitutional under the Amendment 10 law of the Constitution. And for those to suggest otherwise, are manipulating the truth of the matter.

    Amendment X
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    Therefore there is absolutely nothing Unconstitutional about a law that in Wyoming's Constitution "RECOGNIZES" "one male to one female" when it comes to marriage.

    CHAPTER 1 - HUSBAND AND WIFE
    ARTICLE 1 - CREATION OF MARRIAGE
    20-1-101. Marriage a civil contract.
    Marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female person to which the consent of the parties capable of contracting is essential.

    That's the way it is IF you want to live in Wyoming?
  13. sfrose
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    sfrose - March 18, 2014 4:19 pm
    I totally believe in equal rights for everyone. Totally support gay marriages. Why should hetero's be the only ones to suffer?
  14. whatever
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    whatever - March 18, 2014 12:25 pm
    another example that when you have no logical argument you must resort to religious justification for discrimination.
    Pogo if you want to believe that God is in control of your life from start to finish go ahead, I prefer to draw my own conclusions and make my own choices.
  15. whatever
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    whatever - March 18, 2014 12:22 pm
    Idra, if we cannot write laws based on emotion, then why should we write them based on religious faith?
  16. Pogo
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    Pogo - March 18, 2014 12:01 pm
    Ah, "The right thing" that is. CST and this group above surely believes it is the right thing to do. I am, however, remined that, in marriage and close friendships, it is difficult to resist pressure to compromise. Our love leads us to identify with the desires of those we care about. Faced with such pressure, even Solomn (in all his glory) at first resisted it, maintaining pure faith. then he TOLERATED a more widespread practice of evil. Finally he became involved in alternative life-styles,etc., rationalizing away the potential danger to himself and the nation. It is because we want to please (be tolerant and politically correct) and identify with our loved ones that God asks us not to marry those who do not share our commitment to him. Usually we don't turn away from God all at once or in a brief moment. Spiritual coldness begins with a minor departure from God's laws. Over the years, that little departure grows until it results in a complete capitulation. If we let it go unchallenged-- it festers and spreads like deadly cancer or aids (HIV). Excusing it, rationalizing it, and /or covering it up allows total separation and downfall-- resisting tempations seems completely out of order. Eventually it corrupts us so much that we are no longer interested in God. Otherwise we are stuck with the imperfection of human error and human righteousness. As much as we hate to admit it God must be in control of our lives from start to finish. We can of course, choose another path. Many do. Many pastors do. Even clear warnings are hard to obey don't you agree? Disobedience is rarely due to ignorance -- it grows out of stubborn selfishism. This IS an all-too-human trait don't we know. Our wrong's consequences are guaranteed in God's Word, only the timing of those consequences is hard to predict. We are often fooled into believing we got away with it.

    As WE allow our Wyoming society to change, we often throw out norms and values no longer considered necessary or acceptable--creeping incrementalism prevails. There are many of us who do not share the goals of same-sex marriage, abortion, pornography, etc. and we must be careful not fo follow society's example if it discards God's Word. When society does that; only godlessness and evil remain. Think about it! Do you really like what we see happening in our country and state today? We are clearly looking over the abyss right now!
  17. IdrahaJe
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    IdrahaJe - March 18, 2014 11:59 am
    Kendall,

    I will be called all kinds of names, and that's okay. I know who I am, and I know Whose I am. I do not hate anyone. I have gay friends, and some homosexual relatives. I love them dearly.

    A persons race is something that is genetic. A persons sexual activity is a choice. I know that there are many scientists that have said things such as : we believe it is caused, what we think happens, at some point, and so on, and so on.

    As a man of faith, I am often told that what I believe, think , or feel matters not. To date, there is no 100% sure scientific evidence that homosexuality is anything besides a personal choice. I fail to see what makes someone saying 'what we believe happens', and my saying that I believe in the Bible as two completely different things. If my belief does not count, then neither does the scientific communities

    Over 80% of the HIV infections are due to homosexual behavior. It is my opinion that the loving thing for me to do is try to keep people from getting involved in something that might kill them.
  18. IdrahaJe
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    IdrahaJe - March 18, 2014 11:48 am
    Rev. Rodger McDaniel, pastor of Highlands Presbyterian Church said "The faith community fundamentally believes that God created us the way we are."

    This is not a true statement. As so many of us do, his statements are based on his emotions about this subject. However, we cannot write laws based on emotions.
  19. Kendall C
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    Kendall C - March 18, 2014 10:31 am
    From a constitutional standpoint, bans on same sex marriage can't stand, as bans on marriage between people of different races couldn't. The vast majority of the arguments against same sex marriage are put forth on religious grounds, and any laws based on these should be unconstitutional as a violation of the 1st Amendment (Separation of Church and state, since there are Churches that allow same sex couples to marry. The more obvious violation of the 1st Amendment is the attempt by those of one school of religious thought to force their views on others with differing views. As a member of a Church that has long opposed same sex marriage, I am troubled that so many Churches, or their members feel that it is up to them to decide what's best for the US based on their beliefs.
  20. strool35
    Report Abuse
    strool35 - March 18, 2014 8:57 am
    I personally don't care what two males or females do in the bedroom, park, or on the street, just stay to heII out of my face.
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