Same sex marriage (SSM) & domestic partnerships
In 2006, Wisconson voters passed an amendment to the state constitution with almost 60% support. It consisted of two parts:
William McConkey, a political science instructor, has challenged the amendment. He argues that state law limits referendums to a single subject, and that the referendum is invalid because it put two questions to the voters.
McConkey lost before a Dane County judge in 2008. But he appealed to a Madison, WI appeals court. In 2009-APR, the appeals court asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case as soon as possible. The Supreme Court accepted it.
The court will rule on two topics:
The court announced on 2009-MAY-14 that lawyers had 30 days in which to file their initial briefs. Oral arguments are expected in the fall. A ruling could come before the end of 2009.
Bill Cosh, a spokesperson for Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) said:
Katie Belanger is the legislative director of Fair Wisconsin, the largest gay human rights group in the state. She praised the court's decision to take the case, saying:
Lester Pines, the lawyer representing McConkey, said that he was looking forward to:
If McConkey wins his case then:
In the meantime, Governor Jim Doyle (D) has proposed a bill to create a domestic partnership bill that would give 43 benefits to registered same-sex partners, out of the hundreds granted to married opposite-sex couples. Included would be the right to visit each other in hospital, and to inherit each other's property. These are rights that loving, committed same-sex couples do not have at this time. They are currently considered mere roommates by the state, and their children are considered to be illegitimate.
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First posted: 2009-MAY-20
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