Wyoming legislative committee voted Monday to advance a bill to legalize domestic partnership in the state, while killing a bill to permit gay marriage.
The state House Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee issued the split decision Monday afternoon following a contentious two-hour hearing. While supporters of gay marriage described the need for Wyoming -- which is nicknamed the Equality State -- to pass the bill to ensure said equality, opponents offered a number of arguments against gay marriage, including moral and public health concerns. The gay marriage bill failed in a 5-4 vote, while domestic partnerships passed 7-2.
"Homosexual behavior is harmful to the mind, body and spirit," state Rep. Lynn Hutchings (R-Cheyenne) said.
Hutchings, who is African American, called on supporters of gay marriage to "stop carpet-bagging on our civil rights movement," saying that there is no comparison between the two. She said she rejects the comparison because she believes that people choose to be gay. Hutchings also said her ex-fiance had once been gay and decided to become straight.