In the face of a strong amount of misinformation and hateful rhetoric, the Wyoming House Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee backed domestic partnerships and rejected true marriage equality. Opponents to marriage equality, which failed by one vote in the nine person committee, used erroneous and inaccurate claims about morality and public health concerns.
Representative Lynn Hutchings of Cheyenne, a Republican, stated “Homosexual behavior is harmful to the mind, body and spirit.” Hutchings is also Black, and called on supporters of marriage equality to stop comparing the LGBT Rights Movement to the Black Civil Rights Movement because she believes, erroneously, that people choose to be gay. She pointed to her apparently bisexual ex-fiancé as an example of someone who decided to be straight.
Issues of morality and public health were the same excuses that were made as to why the South refused to allow two people of different races to marry to each other.
Openly lesbian Democratic Representative Cathy Connolly of Laramie, tried to tell her colleagues that the legislation was necessary in order to allow same-sex couples to make the same kinds of decision normally allowed under a marriage contract. Domestic partnerships never cover all the rights and responsibilities found under marriage. Domestic partnerships will also be granted to any couple- same-sex or opposite-sex- who live in the same residence even if they are not romantically involved. Republican Governor Matt Mead favors domestic partnerships and supports marriage bigotry.
State Senator Bruce Burns of Sheridan, a Republican, the cosponsor of the domestic partnership bill made it clear that it wasn’t pro-LGBT and was pretty much a front for marriage bigotry. He did note that his aunt had shared a house with another woman for three decades in what he claims is a ‘platonic relationship.’ Originally, the bill allowed for domestic partnerships to be entered into by minors, but Burns amended it so that it wouldn’t happen.
Opponents relied upon every myth that they could in order to attack marriage equality while not providing a scrap of evidence to support their contentions. Hutchings also said that she opposes the bill because of AIDS without noting that there are more straight people suffering from HIV/AIDS than there are gays, and lesbians have the fewest numbers of cases of HIV/AIDS. Another claimed that there was a connection between homosexuality and cancer despite there being no reliable evidence of this being true.
A male witness obsessed about gay sex stating “Anatomy is not made for two women or two men. The colon is not made for that type of behavior.” We are waiting for him to push for a ban on anal intercourse between heterosexual couples. Robin Goodspeed, one of the faux ex-gays out there making a buck promoting ex-gay therapy and promoting homophobia, refused to elaborate on the horrible consequences she experienced from having sex with women, but she claimed that she was lesbian because of childhood sexual abuse.
Representative Dan Zwonitzer praised Connolly for being able to sit there and not beat the bigots into a pulp. He stated “I wanted to publicly thank Rep. Connolly. I can’t believe how unimaginably horrible it would be to sit next to someone being that downright insulting. For you to sit through that, I can’t believe how hard that would be.”
We are, though, wondering when Senator Burns will actually get a clue as to what is going on.