We Urge the Wisconsin Supreme Court to Uphold the State's Domestic Partnership Law

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September 11, 2013

Lambda Legal has filed a brief on behalf of Fair Wisconsin and five same-sex couples in the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, asking the court to uphold the state's domestic partnership law as constitutional. Oral arguments in the state's highest court are scheduled for October 23rd.

Lambda Legal Senior Staff Attorney Christopher Clark said:

The domestic partnership law in Wisconsin is without question constitutional. The limited protections provided by domestic partnerships are a far cry from the significant rights, benefits and responsibilities associated with marriage. To suggest that that the two types of relationships are impermissibly similar is an antigay 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 declared the domestic partnership was constitutional. Shortly thereafter, Wisconsin Family Action appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

President and CEO of Fair Wisconsin Katie Belanger said:

Wisconsin's same-sex couples need the domestic partnership registry - it provides important protections in a state that has banned same-sex couples from having the freedom to marry. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiffs' arguments as 'nonsense,' and that hasn’t changed.

Read the press release.