Appling v. Doyle

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.
Status: Closed
Outcome:
Victory
Court:
Dane County Circuit Court
Issues: Anti-LGBT Rulings, Laws and Amendments, Marriage, Relationships and Family Protections

Lawsuit brought by an antigay legal group attempting to strip away Wisconsin's newly enacted domestic partnership registry for same-sex couples and their families.

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In November 2006, Wisconsin passed a constitutional amendment that prohibits marriage for same-sex couples in the state and bars recognition of any legal status that is "substantially similar" to marriage. In June 2009, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed domestic partnerships into law. Domestic partnerships grant 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 at the Wisconsin Supreme Court against the state arguing that the domestic partnership law is a violation of the antigay constitutional amendment barring marriage equality. After Wisconsin Attorney General Van Hollen announced that his office would not defend the state against the claim, Governor Doyle appointed special counsel to represent the state.

In September 2009, Lambda Legal filed a motion to intervene in the case on behalf of Fair Wisconsin, the statewide LGBT advocacy group, and its members and urged the Wisconsin Supreme Court to reject the case because it should have first been filed at a lower court.

In November 2009 the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to exercise original jurisdiction over the matter.

Then on August 18, 2010, Wisconsin Family Action and the Alliance Defense Fund re-filed the challenge to Wisconsin's domestic partnership registry in the Dane County Circuit Court. Lambda Legal filed a motion to intervene on behalf of Fair Wisconsin and five same-sex couples.