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Proposed legislation would provide ‘domestic partnership’ benefits for gay couples

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State Representative Cathy Connolly of Laramie has drafted legislation that would give gay couples the same rights as spouses in Wyoming. 

Connolly says if the bill is passed, couples will be able to register at county clerks offices to become official domestic partners.

“What it does is allow for any place in our statutes where the term ‘spouse’ is used, that members of the domestic partnership have equal rights, duties, benefits and obligations as spouses,” she said.

The bill would also apply to unmarried heterosexual couples.

Efforts to legalize same-sex marriage and civil unions have failed in the Wyoming legislature in the past. But Connolly says she thinks this bill will gain more traction because it’s not trying to redefine marriage. She says if it passes, it will be an important step for gay couples.

“It’s not full marriage equality; that’s for sure,” she said. “But it is a step in the right direction.”

Connolly is also proposing legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.

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