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Anti-gay Wisconsin group sues to roll back domestic partnership recognition

You see, until we get this whole matter of DPs, civil unions and civil marriage reconciled at the fed level, the fundies will keep fighting back with bullsh*t like this. Wisconsin has a marriage amendment, so Gov. Jim Doyle tried to find a way to foster equality by establishing “domestic partnerships” in the 2010-11 state budget.

That unhinged the bigots at Wisconsin Family Action, which filed a lawsuit yesterday challenging the validity of DPs if the state has a marriage amendment on the books. 


Board members of Wisconsin Family Action ask State Supreme Court to declare Gov. Doyle’s  statewide, same-sex domestic partnership registry unconstitutional

 MADISON — Today, Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), together with WFA board members Jerry Hiller and E. Lee Webster, through their attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, filed a petition  for original action with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, asking the Court to declare the domestic partner registry Gov. Jim Doyle authored in the 2010-11 state budget unconstitutional and to issue a permanent injunction against it.

The petitioners filed for an original action with the Wisconsin Supreme Court because that is the most expeditious and efficient means possible to consider and resolve the critical constitutional issues raised by the registry.  

The petitioners and their attorneys believe the domestic partner registry violates the Wisconsin Marriage Amendment approved by nearly 60% of Wisconsin voters in November 2006 by creating a legal status substantially similar to that of marriage in direct contravention to the Wisconsin Constitution, Article 13, Section 13.

“Elected officials should never pass laws that violate the will of Wisconsin voters who legitimately amended the state constitution in a fair election,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action and lead petitioner in the lawsuit, Appling v.Doyle.  “This new domestic partnership scheme is a sneaky assault on marriage from those who are determined to redefine marriage in Wisconsin.”

“The registry is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the constitutional amendment approved by Wisconsin voters was intended to prevent,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum.  “Those who wish to redefine marriage are attempting to evade the clear language of the state constitution.”

The petition states, in part:

 “The form of domestic partnership created by the domestic partnership registry is prohibited by Art. XIII, sec. 13 of the Wisconsin Constitution by creating and requiring recognition of a legal status substantially similar to that of marriage….Such domestic partnerships are entered into by same-sex partners and are officially created and acknowledged in essentially the identical way that marriages are entered into by a man and woman and are officially created and acknowledged.”

“This registry is an assault on the people, the state constitution, the democratic process, and the institution of marriage, which the people voted so recently and so overwhelmingly to protect,” said Appling.  “Gov. Doyle and the legislators who approved the registry in the budget are obviously more concerned with advancing the agenda of a fringe activist group than representing the people who elected them.”

“Our system of government serves no purpose if our elected officials can completely and capriciously ignore the will of the people with impunity,” said Appling.  “A reasonable person observing this registry would easily conclude that it mimics marriage and is a test of the marriage amendment and the express will of the people.  It borrows the requirements and eligibility standards for marriage, even to the point of requiring that the price of the registry certificate be the same as for a marriage license.”

Appling, Hiller and Webster are represented by Attorney Richard M. Esenberg, Attorney Michael D. Dean with First Freedoms Foundation, and attorneys Austin Nimocks and Brian Raum with the Alliance Defense Fund.


Wisconsin Family Action, the legislative action arm of Wisconsin Family Council (, actively strengthens and preserves marriage, family, life and liberty in Wisconsin.

WFA, by the way, has set its legislative priorities for the year, including going after divorce, so heterosexual couples, you're on their list as well:

WFA will be working on a number of issues, including no-fault divorce reform, full legal protection for unborn children, ensuring the right of parents to make important decisions concerning their children, strengthening marriage and family in public policy, and ensuring children are safe from internet predators.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding