Will Wyoming states have jurisdiction to hear gay divorce cases? Or will voters vote to keep gay divorces out of the state?
I was reading the Dallas Voice just now and found this story, which reads in part:
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Some top Wyoming lawmakers said Friday, Jan. 14 that a same-sex divorce case pending in the state Supreme Court underscores the need to clarify what constitutes legal marriage in the state.
District Judge Keith Kautz of Niobrara County in November dismissed a case in which two women who were married in Canada in 2008 were seeking a divorce in Wyoming. Kautz said state law didn’t give him jurisdiction over ending the marriage. One of the women appealed.
Senate President Jim Anderson, R-Glenrock, and House Speaker Ed Buchanan, R-Torrington, both said in interviews Friday that the Niobrara County case shows that the Legislature needs to clarify state law. Attempts to reach lawyers representing the divorcing couple were unsuccessful.
One provision of Wyoming law says marriage can exist only between one man and one woman. But another provision says the state will recognize valid marriages performed elsewhere.
Currently, performing a same-sex marriage is legal in only a handful of states, mostly in the Northeast.
A proposal pending in the Wyoming Senate would let voters decide whether to amend the state constitution to specify that the state would recognize only marriages between a man and a woman. The Senate on Friday sent the measure, Senate Joint Resolution 5, to the Judiciary Committee.
Whatever happened to comity and full faith and credit? I’m surprised that Wyoming does not recognize these marriages that are legally entered into in other states under the doctrine of comity. Hmmmmm…..well, let’s see what Wyoming voters decide to to with this one. Should be interesting. If they vote to keep the definition of marriage as one man, one woman, then arguably the Wyoming courts can continue to refuse jurisdiction over gay divorces; and I guess not even the doctrine of comity can force them to hear the divorces of same sex couples within the state, even if they were legally married up in the Northeast or some country that recognizes and allows same sex couples to marry.