Four same-sex couples have filed a
federal lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage.
Carol Schumacher and Virginia Wolf of
Eau Claire married in another state but a constitutional amendment
approved by voters in 2006 prohibits Wisconsin from recognizing their
marriage. Wisconsin law also makes it a crime for gay couples to
legally marry in another state.
Plaintiffs also include Roy Badger and
Garth Wangemann of Milwaukee, who have been together 37 years.
Badger's power of attorney was challenged three years ago when
Wangemann fell into a medically induced coma for nearly a month and
Wangemann's father wanted to have his son taken off life support.
“What upset me the most was that
after all of our time together, our relationship was not fully
recognized by my family and there was a real danger that my wish to
give Roy the ability to make decisions about my care could be
stripped away,” Wangemann said in a statement. “Thankfully, our
wishes held in this case. But without the protections that come with
marriage, the consequences can literally be a matter of life or
Other plaintiffs in the case are
Charvonne Kemp and Marie Carlson of Milwaukee and Judi Trampf and
Katy Heyning of Madison.
The couples, who are represented by the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), filed their case in federal
court in Madison on Monday morning.
John Knight, staff attorney with the
ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, said: “More and
more Americans over the past few years accept the idea that same-sex
couples and their families shouldn't be treated differently than
other families. It is our hope that Wisconsin will soon join the 17
states in granting the freedom to marry.”