The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday
ruled the state's domestic partnership registry to be constitutional.
The legislation extends a limited
number of protections for gay and lesbian couples, but opponents
argued that it violates the state's 2006 voter-approved
constitutional amendment banning marriage and anything substantially
similar to it for gay couples.
The high court said the ban did not
prevent gay couples from receiving certain benefits.
The socially conservative group
Wisconsin Family Action filed the legal challenge after former
Governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat, included the legislation in his 2009
biannual state budget approved by lawmakers.
Doyle appointed private attorneys to
defend the law in court after state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen
refused to do so. Van Hollen said he believed the law to be
Republican Governor Scott Walker fired
those attorneys, leaving LGBT advocate Fair Wisconsin as the
registry's only defender.
According to Fair Wisconsin, more than
2,000 couples have joined the registry.
LGBT advocate Lambda Legal applauded
the decision in a statement.
“Gay and lesbian couples in Wisconsin
no longer have to fear that the protections they have will be taken
away by unnecessary anti-gay legal action,” the group said.
A federal judge in June declared
Wisconsin's marriage ban invalid. Van Hollen has appealed the ruling
to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
support for gay marriage in Wisconsin as federal case heads to