Wyoming House Committee advances domestic partnership bill

Today, the Wyoming House Corporations Committee advanced a bill that would allow same-sex couples to join together in domestic partnerships. By a vote of 7-2, the Committee submitted the domestic partnership bill, H.B. 168, for full consideration by the Wyoming House of Representatives. 

A majority of the seven legislators who voted in favor of the domestic partnership bill are Republicans.

Last week, Rep. Keith Gingery, a Republican who serves as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in Wyoming, said he supported the domestic partnership bill but would have preferred to see the passage of a bill for the freedom to marry, which was also considered today but was not advanced.

Gingery explained, "It's hard for anyone to be against gay marriage when there's a face to it and that face is a friend or relative. The population of gay couples in the state is increasing, and the law is not very clear about what rights they have." He emphasized that the marriage bill would have extended civil marriage law to same-sex couples, and that civil marriage does not affect the actions of religious institutions. He said, "We need to separate the religious issue from the civil function of society."  

Domestic partnership extends some - but not all - of the protections and responsibilities that marriage provides. Domestic partnership is a separate, unequal legal compromise that is no substitute for the full measure of respect, clarity, security and responsibilities of marriage itself.

Domestic partnership and civil union are a step forward and show progress, and we applaud the members of the Wyoming House Corporations Committee for taking that first step toward progress - but we know that the only way to achieve equality is to provide the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples.