Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Are you ready for Election Day?

With less than a week until Election Day, it’s important to remember that every vote counts! In order to participate in the democratic process all voters need to understand the rules in our state, register on time, and show up at the correct polling place. Follow these steps to make sure can vote in this year’s election: 

Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th
Wyoming polls are open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm

·         Make sure you are registered to vote. If you are not already registered, Wyoming allows qualified voters to register at the polls on Election Day. However, you must bring an acceptable form of ID to the polls for same day registration. (example: passport or Wyoming driver’s license)
·         Locate your polling place.   
·         Get to the polls early to avoid the rush.
·         Contact your Wyoming County Clerk’s office with any further questions
·         Learn more about the ACLU’s efforts to protect voting rights.

We encourage all Wyoming voters to make their voice heard and vote in the upcoming election. Voting is one of our most basic rights, and it is the fundamental right which all of our civil liberties rest. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Marriage Equality Comes to Wyoming

Federal Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, WY – Today, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl declared Wyoming’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The State of Wyoming has until October 23rd to decide if it will appeal the decision. Governor Mead indicated last night that the state would not appeal. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wyoming celebrates this decision. Wyomingites will soon have the freedom to marry the person they love without regard to gender. The ruling also requires Wyoming to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for this decision when it declined to hear appeals from states seeking to uphold bans on same-sex marriages. This included Denver-based Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rulings from this summer.

“Gay couples in Wyoming will soon be legally entitled to share the pride and security that comes with a marriage license,” says Jennifer Horvath, staff attorney with the ACLU of Wyoming. “It is a historic and exciting day in the Equality State.”

The ACLU has been working for the rights of LGBT people since 1936, when it brought its first gay rights case. The organization filed the first freedom to marry lawsuit for same-sex couples in the nation in 1970, represented Edie Windsor in her successful challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, and filed marriage lawsuits on behalf of same-sex couples pending in several other states.

“People can get married, but might not share their happy news for fear of getting fired or kicked out of their home,” Horvath said. “Discrimination against gay people is still legal in Wyoming. Where people work, live and play should not be dictated by sexual orientation. By extending existing nondiscrimination protections, we can all enjoy equal rights in the Equality State.”

Read Judge Skavdahl’s ruling.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Press Release: Statement on Marriage Equality

October 6, 2014

Contact: Jennifer Horvath, Staff Attorney; jhorvath@aclu.org, 307.637.4565

CHEYENNE, WY – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wyoming celebrates the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions this morning denying certiorari in the pending marriage cases.  This is a wonderful victory for same-sex couples who will soon be able to marry, including right here in Wyoming.

The Supreme Court’s action this morning means the Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decisions recognizing marriage equality are now final, and the stays will be lifted in those cases. Marriages will go forward immediately in some states, other states will soon follow. This brings the number of states with marriage for same-sex couples to 30.

“The freedom to marry the person you love is coming to Wyoming soon,” says Jennifer Horvath, staff attorney with the ACLU of Wyoming.  “The Supreme Court’s decisions this morning means that all states in the Fourth, Seventh and Tenth circuits, which includes Wyoming, are bound by circuit decisions recognizing marriage for same-sex couples.”

The Supreme Court’s action this morning sends an unmistakable signal that the Court is comfortable with the lower court decisions in favor of marriage equality, and the ACLU thinks that courts will read that loud and clear. The Tenth Circuit held earlier this year that it is unconstitutional to exclude same-sex couples from the protections of marriage. Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming are in the Tenth Circuit.  

“As happy as we are to see this day arrive in Wyoming, we know that we have more work to do before LGBT people have equal rights in the Equality State.” Horvath said. “We encourage public officials in Wyoming to stop defending discrimination.”