Today Lambda Legal presented oral arguments on behalf of Fair Wisconsin and five same-sex couples in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, asking the court to uphold the state’s domestic partnership law as constitutional.
“The domestic partnership law in Wisconsin is without question constitutional,” said Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “The limited protections provided by domestic partnerships are a long way from the important rights, benefits and responsibilities associated with marriage. To suggest that the two types of relationships are impermissibly similar is a discriminatory stretch of the imagination.”
In June 2009, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed domestic partnerships into law, granting limited but important legal protections to same-sex couples, including hospital visitation and the ability to take a family medical leave to care for a sick or injured partner. Wisconsin Family Action, an antigay group, brought a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court arguing that the domestic partnership law violates Wisconsin’s constitutional amendment barring marriage for same-sex couples and any legal status that is substantially similar to marriage. Shortly thereafter, Lambda Legal successfully moved to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of Fair Wisconsin and five same-sex couples. In December 2012, the Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court’s decision affirming the constitutionality of the domestic partnership law. Shortly thereafter, Wisconsin Family Action appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“Wisconsin’s same-sex couples need the domestic partnership registry – it provides limited but important protections in a state that has banned marriage for same-sex couples.” said Katie Belanger, President and CEO of Fair Wisconsin. “The Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments as ‘nonsense,’ and nothing has changed.”
For more information on this case, Appling v. Doyle, visit Lambda Legal’s case page at http://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/appling-v-doyle.html.