State of Wyoming will file court notice Tuesday morning, clearing way for same-sex marriages



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CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Same-sex couples in Wyoming can start exchanging wedding vows Tuesday when the state files court papers to officially permit gay marriage for the first time, state Attorney General Peter Michael said Monday.

"Everyone's still kind of in limbo waiting on the final word," Jeran Artery, executive director of Wyoming Equality, said.

The waiting has been tough on some same-sex couples who are looking forward to getting married or having Wyoming recognize marriages that were performed legally outside the state.

Carl Oleson, a Casper resident who married another man in Canada, said he still can't be put on his spouse's health insurance and still can't visit him in the hospital.

"That doesn't change until they say 'Yes, we recognize your marriage,'" Oleson said.

Michael said in statement that the state will notify a federal court at 10 .m. Tuesday that it won't appeal last Friday's ruling that struck down the state's ban on gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled last Friday that the state must permit same-sex marriage, but he issued a stay until this Thursday in order to allow time for the state to appeal.

Skavdahl said his ruling will take effect immediately if the state files paperwork saying it will not appeal.

Same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses at local county clerk offices, but no licenses can be issued until the state files its notice.

Michaels said once the state files its notice Skavdahl's order "will go into effect immediately."

"The State of Wyoming must also recognize same-sex marriages entered into elsewhere under its laws, policies and practices," Michaels said.

Artery said he knew of one same-sex couple making plans to wed Tuesday evening in Cheyenne.

Wyoming, which includes Equality State as one of its mottos, is among the latest states to be required to permit and recognize same-sex marriages because of recent court rulings.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to review several federal court rulings that upheld gay marriage as a constitutional right. The rulings include the one from the 10th Circuit, which covers Wyoming and five other states.

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