Foes of a gay-inclusive domestic
partner law in Wisconsin are taking their fight to the state Supreme
Wisconsin became the first state with a
constitutional amendment banning marriage and civil unions for gay
and lesbian couples to recognize their unions with passage of the
registry last month. Governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat, lobbied for the
legislation, which extends a limited number of protections for gay
and lesbian couples, by including the language in his biannual state
budged approved by lawmakers. Most of the 43 rights granted to couples
center around estate planning and hospital visitation issues. The
law goes into effect August 3.
The group Wisconsin Family Action
(WFA), which supported passage of the anti-gay marriage amendment as
the Family Research Institute, and the Christian-based Alliance
Defense Fund (ADF) announced Thursday they would join forces to fight
Governor Jim Doyle's domestic partnership registry.
“Elected officials should never pass
laws that violate the will of Wisconsin voters who legitimately amend
the state constitution in a fair election,” Julaine Appling,
president of WFA and lead petitioner in the lawsuit, said in a
statement. “This new domestic partnership scheme is a sneaky
assault on marriage from those who are determined to redefine
marriage in Wisconsin.”
“Those who wish to redefine marriage
are attempting to evade the clear language of the state
constitution,” ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum said.
The court filing was not unexpected,
however. Appling said in February that if it passed her group would
challenge the registry.
The action is the latest challenge to
state laws that recognize gay unions this year. In Maine,
say they will place a referendum on the ballot to repeal a gay
marriage law. And in Washington State, opponents
of a domestic partnership law that extends all the rights of
marriage except the name are working towards a Saturday deadline to
submit sufficient signatures to validate a repeal measure.
Iowa groups are also looking at ways to
turn back a state Supreme Court decision that opened marriage to gay
and lesbian couples in April. At least one gubernatorial candidate,
Vander Plaats, is running on the promise he would end gay
marriage with an executive order.
In the District of Columbia, foes
were unsuccessful in their attempt to block the start of a law that
recognizes legal gay marriages performed elsewhere. City leaders
say they will introduce a gay marriage bill in the fall.