Bills which would recognize the relationships of gay and lesbian couples with either marriage or domestic partnerships have been introduced in the Wyoming House.

Rep. Cathy Connolly, a Democrat from Laramie, introduced the measures on Monday.

According to the Jackson Hole News and Guide, Keith Gingery, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, where the bills will first be debated, has endorsed both measures, and said he would prefer marriage over domestic partnerships.

“We need to separate the religious issue from the civil function of society,” said Gingery, a Catholic. “Legally speaking, I would prefer the gay marriage bill. We already know how it works.”

Connolly has introduced similar bills during four previous sessions, in 2007, 2009 and 2011, with little success.

A second Republican, Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff, has also backed the proposals.

“It's a basic human rights and fairness issue,” Petroff said. “It's a basic constitutional issue. There should just be no reason why same-sex couples shouldn't have the same rights as everyone else.”

The House's Republican majority has increased from 41 members (out of 60) to 52 since 2008.