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CHEYENNE – A bill that would have reaffirmed the right of religious officials to decline marrying same-sex couples was defeated Tuesday morning in a state legislative committee.

But some members of the House Judiciary Committee said they opposed it because they favor instead a bill that allows all people to decline performing services based on their religion and freedom of conscience, including issuing marriage licenses.

In October, a judge struck down Wyoming’s gay marriage ban.

House Bill 26 sponsor Rep. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, said that although religious officials already have the right to decide who to marry, he wanted it clear in state law in case the courts decided to take on the issue.

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The Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne supported the bill.

WyWatch Family Action, a group that describes itself as guarding faith, family and freedom, told supporters it would support the freedom-of-religion bill and not HB26.

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Reach political reporter Laura Hancock at 307-266-0581 or at laura.hancock@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter: @laurahancock.

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