Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker has fired the attorney defending the state's law that
recognizes gay and lesbian unions with domestic partnerships, the
The legislation extends a limited
number of protections to gay couples, but opponents argue it
violates the state's 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment
banning marriage and civil unions for gay couples.
A spokesman for Walker confirmed that
the governor had terminated the services of Madison attorney Lester
Pines as counsel for the state in the lawsuit.
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.
Opponents immediately called the law an
“end run” around the state's ban.
“In scope and in intent, this is
marriage-like and shows that it's an attempt to overturn the will of
the people,” Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action,
which supported the anti-gay marriage amendment as the Family
Research Institute, said in 2009.
Doyle hired Pines 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 unconstitutional.
“Governor Walker is ideologically
opposed to equal rights for gay and lesbian and transgendered people
as is everyone in his administration as far as I can tell,” Pines
told the paper.
The governor's spokesman said his
office “is still working to appoint a new counsel to the case.”