The Wyoming State Legislature is presently considering legislation that would close a loop-hole in state law.  Presently, Wyoming statute defines marriage as a contract “between a male and a female person”, but state law also recognizes any legal marriage performed out of the state.  Thus, individuals who have contracted a same-sex union in other states or countries, and file for divorce in Wyoming, create a necessity for the state to “recognize” their union should they legally provide for their divorce.

House Bill 0074 seeks to specify that 1)marriages other than of a male and a female person are void; 2) marriages between more than two parties are void; and 3) Wyoming courts do not have jurisdiction over any domestic legal union involving parties who are not a male and a female person…

This legislation advanced  on Thursday past the first hearing in the House by 34 votes.  Prayers and encouragement for our legislators are important as this bill advances.  Today, I wrote each of our legislators encouraging their passage of this legislation.  The letter is as follows:

Honorable Members of the Wyoming State Legislature:

I write as the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne, speaking on behalf of the Catholic people in the State of Wyoming, in support of the VALIDITY OF MARRIAGE ACT (HB-0074).  It is my prayer and hope that you vote in support of this legislation.

The natural law makes clear the foundational role that marriage (between one man and one woman) holds in society and for the dignity of the human person. Let me explain briefly.

The challenge in a democracy such as our own is when truth is defined by the “majority”.  Such truth is not universal, because it is subject to change over time; subject to change with each election season.  This is why it is critical for our laws to be rooted in the “natural law” – universal truth – which is discernible by human reason to people of every time and age.

With such logic and appeal to the “natural law” written in the hearts of every human person, we come to understand the sacredness of every human life. The same “natural law” leads us to acknowledge not only the Sacred Origins of human life, but also the human origins of each individual, this human origin being the love of a husband and wife, one man, one woman.

That is why your support of the VALIDITY OF MARRIAGE ACT (HB—0074) is essential for the people of Wyoming.  With prayers and gratitude for your service, I remain,


+Paul D. Etienne

Bishop of Cheyenne