Wyoming Court rejects lawmakers' brief in divorce case

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- The Wyoming Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a request from a group of state lawmakers to get involved in a pending same-sex divorce case.

The court on Wednesday denied a request from 13 lawmakers, including House Speaker Ed Buchanan, R-Torrington, to file a "friend of the court" brief. The lawmakers were represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian civil rights group that has litigated against same-sex marriage in California.

The lawmakers had sought to support a ruling last year by Niobrara County District Judge Keith Kautz. The Supreme Court is hearing an appeal of Kautz's ruling that he lacked authority to hear a divorce case involving two women who were married in Canada in 2008.

In denying the lawmakers' request, the Supreme Court stated in a written order that it had considered an argument from lawyers representing one of the women in the divorce case who opposed the lawmakers' request to get involved.

Cheyenne lawyer Tracy Zubrod and Laramie lawyer Mary Elizabeth Galvan wrote earlier this month that the lawmakers' interest in the case merely served "to perpetuate a political agenda" and wouldn't address the legal issues before the court. Attempts to reach the lawyers for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.

In their request for permission to file the brief, the lawmakers argued Wyoming would have to revise several state laws if the Wyoming Supreme Court acknowledged lower state courts could perform same-sex divorces. The lawmakers also warned that accepting same-sex divorce would probably also force the state to recognize polygamy.

Existing Wyoming law specifies that marriage can only exist between one man and one woman. But it also specifies that the state will recognize valid marriages performed elsewhere.

Some Wyoming lawmakers have been pushing to change state law to specify that the state will only recognize male-female marriages because of the increase in same-sex marriages in other jurisdictions.

The Wyoming Senate has passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Curt Meier, R-LaGrange, that would allow Wyoming voters to decide whether to amend the state Constitution to specify that the state would only recognize marriages between one man and one woman. Meier is one of the 13 lawmakers who had sought to get involved in the same-sex divorce appeal.

Meier said Wednesday he doesn't expect the Wyoming House will consider his resolution in the legislative session that runs through next Thursday. "I think they're just counting noses," he said of House officials' decision not to bring the bill up for a vote.

Published: Fri, Feb 25, 2011


  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »