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February 01, 2011 8:27 am

LIFE IN CHEYENNE: Where are the constitutionalists on this one?

Written by Dave Bonner

Why am I saddened and disappointed by the House passage of HB 74 last week to supposedly underscore the “Validity of Marriage?”

Under Wyoming law, marriage is defined as a civil contract between a man and a woman. It’s been that way since territorial days, even before Wyoming was a state. It’s been my satisfying experience to be married under that Wyoming law for nearly 50 years.

Plainly, the bill isn’t needed to protect the Wyoming definition of marriage.

There is one reason for this bill, and that is to attack the marriage laws of other states and other countries that are unlike our own — to portray them as a threat. To me, the real threat of that kind of fence ‘em out thinking is to our Wyoming Constitution:

ARTICLE 1, Sec. 2. Equality of all. In their inherent right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, all members of the human race are equal.

ARTICLE 1, Sec. 3. Equal political rights. Since equality in the enjoyment of natural and civil rights is only made sure through political equality, the laws of this state affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, sex, or any circumstance or condition whatsoever other than individual incompetency, or unworthiness duly ascertained by a court of competent jurisdiction.

If this bill goes forward, we might as well put signs up at our borders, saying gays are not welcome here. That’s a message I don’t want to send, and I don’t think the people of Wyoming want to send it, or be known for it.

* * * * *

The big panorama of the Tetons high on the wall of the Governor’s Residence made it look like new Gov. Matt Mead, a Jackson native, and his family were right at home in the chief executive’s official residence.

We were in the first group of legislators hosted by the Meads for dinner at the Governor’s Residence.

It turns out, though, the piece of art is on loan from the University of Wyoming, and it was there as a carryover from the Freudenthal administration. The Meads aren’t even living there yet!

“For some of you, this may be your first official dinner at the Governor’s Mansion,” Mead said in welcoming legislators. “It is for us, too.”

The hectic pace of forming a new administration has been so demanding that the move into the Governor’s Residence has had to take a back seat for the new governor. He and his family are still living in their Cheyenne home.

* * * *

With crossed fingers, I say weather in Cheyenne has not been all that bad during the early weeks of the session. Even the customary wind has been largely in check.

Well, sorta. The other night a loud crash awakened us on the sixth floor of the Holiday Inn.

We learned the next day the source of the bang. The “H” in the Holiday Inn sign on the roof of the building had blown off its moorings and lit just above our heads on the top (sixth) floor.

(Dave Bonner, publisher of the Tribune, is the representative for House District 25.)

1 Comment

  • Comment Link February 13, 2011 4:35 pm posted by Nancy Ludowise

    Dave is absolutely right about defending the real Wyoming Constitution against the hate and fear mongers. Thanks, Dave.

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