Politicians in America’s least populous state have said that a proposed ban on same-sex marriage recognition is not homophobic.
Wyoming’s state legislature is considering legislation that would clear the way for a statewide ballot that would ban recognition of any out of state gay marriage.
Republicans, who are behind the measure, have portrayed it as protecting “traditional” marriage. If the bill gets two thirds support in the state House and Senate and is approved by the Governor, Wyoming residents will vote on it.
“We’re not trying to tell anybody how to live their lives,” state representative Bob Brechtel told AP.
“If people want to have some kind of civil union, that’s entirely their business. This is not meant to discriminate against any human person.
“There is an outgrowth of Judeo-Christian principles and values that has traditionally made families strong. And as one example, we know for a fact that there are social implications in children living without a mommy or a daddy
At present gay and lesbian couples can get married in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Civil unions that carry all the state rights of marriage are legal in New Jersey, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Gay marriage was legal in America’s most populous state, California, between June and November last year, until a statewide ballot measure banning same-sex marriage was passed by voters. The measure, Proposition 8, is being challenged in the courts.
Federal marriage rights were denied to same-sex couples by the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA).
States are not required to “treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.”
DOMA also prevents the federal government from gay and lesbian relationships as marriage “for any purpose,” even if the marriage is recognised by one of the states.
President Barack Obama is committed to the repeal of DOMA, but does not support gay marriage.
LGBT rights group Human Rights Campaign said that fundamentalist Christians were pushing the Wyoming legislation.
“Even though Wyoming already has a state law banning same-sex marriage, stalwart anti-LGBT conservatives from another state are once again demonstrating their obsession with roadblocking LGBT rights,” HRC said in an action alert to supporters.
“It seems that Christian conservative leaders just can’t help themselves when it comes to LGBT issues – despite the evidence that younger evangelicals are increasingly turning away from demonising our community.”