Wisconsin Democrats on Thursday
announced a legislative effort that seeks to repeal the state's ban
on gay marriage.
Flanked by marriage equality advocates,
Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa and Senator Tim Carpenter, both Democrats,
announced the effort at the state Capitol in Madison.
A majority (59%) of voters in 2006
approved a constitutional amendment which defines marriage as a
heterosexual union. Wisconsin law also makes it a crime for gay
couples to legally marry in another state. Neighboring states Iowa,
Minnesota and Illinois have legalized same-sex marriage.
All 15 Senate Democrats are backing the
proposed legislation, which faces an uphill battle in the
Republican-led Wisconsin Legislature.
While Republican Governor Scott
Walker's signature is not needed for the question to reach voters, he
has strongly voiced his opposition to marriage equality.
Walker calls gay marriage ban part of “healthy balance” of LGBT
Wisconsin currently recognizes gay and
lesbian couples with domestic partnerships, which offer couples
access to some of the protections of marriage but are not recognized
by the federal government.
“Repealing our ban and moving one
step closer to allowing same-sex couples to join [in] marriage is
critical to ensure that all families are treated with dignity and
respect,” Katie Belanger, president and CEO of Fair Wisconsin, the
state's largest LGBT rights advocate, said during Thursday's press
The announcement comes a week after
four couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging the
constitutionality of the state's ban.
couples challenge Wisconsin's gay marriage ban.)