Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Wyoming may face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Wyoming, but same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the same protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
Laws against homosexualityEdit
- Further information: Sodomy laws in the United States#State laws prior to 2003 invalidation
Recognition of same-sex relationships Edit
Wyoming does not allow same-sex couples to marry. Wyoming law (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §20-1-101, 2003) states, "Marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female person to which the consent of the parties capable of contracting is essential."
Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, no state is required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in another jurisdiction. However, Wyoming's own Domestic Relations title (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §20-1-111, 2003) also recognizes that "All marriage contracts which are valid by the laws of the country in which contracted are valid in this state." Wyoming lawmakers currently acknowledge that while those persons empowered by the state to solemnize or register new marriages are not empowered to wed same sex couples, the state is also statutorily obligated to recognize marriages legally contracted in other jurisdictions, be they between opposite- or same-sex couples.
On February 22, 2007, a bill to prohibit Wyoming from recognizing same-sex marriages from other states was defeated by one vote in a committee of the Wyoming House of Representatives.
In 2009, the House of Representatives considered an amendment to the state constitution, House Joint Resolution 17 (aka the "Defense of Marriage" resolution), which would have made it unconstitutional for the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. After an intense, emotional debate on the matter, the measure was defeated in a vote by the full House on February 6, with 35 votes against and 25 in favor.
Hate crimes legislationEdit
Wyoming does not have hate crimes legislation to add extra penalties for violence based on anti-LGBT motives. It should be noted, however, that Wyoming is one of the few states in the U.S. that does not have any laws on the books to add extra penalties for hate crimes of any kind.
Same-sex unions in the United States
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