Same-Sex Marriage Arrives In Wyoming

Oct 21, 2014

On Tuesday morning Wyoming county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples for the first time in the state’s history. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan was at the Albany County Courthouse for that historic event, while Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank was in Cheyenne, at the Laramie County Courthouse. Together, they have this report.

The Albany County Courthouse is normally a pretty sleepy place, but this morning was different. At 10am Wyoming’s Attorney General would file notice the state wouldn’t appeal the court ruling that threw out Wyoming’s gay marriage ban. After that, same sex couples could start getting their marriage licenses. County Clerk Jackie Gonzales addressed the growing crowd of bystanders a few minutes before the hour.

“I appreciate everybody’s patience,” she says. “We are currently awaiting the approval of the order via email.”

While there are over a dozen well-wishers, there’s only one couple actually waiting to get hitched: Teresa Bingham and Linda Mahaffey. They have to remind everyone that they’re just getting their marriage license--their wedding is set for this summer.

“Super excited, yeah. Ready to get the day here now. This summer, July, we will get married.”

At 10:05 Clerk Gonzales comes out to give the couple some forms to fill out--even she starts choking up.

Anne Guzzo is one of those here to cheer Teresa and Linda on. She and her partner were plaintiff’s in the case that got Wyoming’s ban on same sex marriage overturned.

“It’s been really exciting. This has been the best part for me is watching the results of this, watching people getting married.”

At a quarter past Teresa and Linda finally head back into the clerks office. With photographers and spectators surrounding them it doesn’t feel totally routine, but it went off without a hitch. A county official even ribbed Teresa about being from out of state.

Finally, forty five minutes, a few forms and thirty dollars later, Teresa Bingham and Linda Mahaffey had their marriage license.

Meanwhile, at the Laramie County Courthouse in Cheyenne...

It’s just before 10 a.m.--and Jennifer Mumaugh is ready to become one of the first people in the state to get married since Wyoming’s same-sex marriage ban was overturned.

“Right now, I’m just sitting here anxiously at the courthouse outside the marriage license office, waiting for my partner to show up. So, now we’re hoping to actually get the license and get married here this morning.”