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Monday, February 03, 2014

Courts - Suit brought in Wisconsin to challenge the same constitutional language Indiana aspires to duplicate

Dee J. Hall reports this afternoon in the Wisconsin State Journal:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin on Monday filed a federal lawsuit seeking to void the state's ban on same-sex marriage, arguing it violates the U.S. Constitution's protection of equal treatment under the law.

"Lesbians and gay men in Wisconsin are denied the freedom afforded to different-sex couples in this state to have their loving, committed relationships recognized through marriage," according to the complaint to be filed Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Madison. * * *

The complaint requests an immediate halt to enforcement of Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit asks the federal court to "fulfill its solemn duty of ensuring to all Americans the fundamental freedoms that the Constitution of the United States guarantees. Wisconsin’s marriage ban denies those freedoms." * * *

In 2006, Wisconsin voters ratified a constitutional amendment that banned gay marriages and civil unions by a decisive 59 percent.

The lawsuit describes the amendment as "one of the most restrictive bans on marriage for same-sex couples in the nation" because it prohibits not just gay marriage but any equivalent of marriage, including civil unions. * * *

The amendment ratified by voters in 2006 stated, “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.”

Three years later, in 2009, the state Legislature passed a domestic-partner law signed by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle that allowed unmarried couples to register to qualify for some benefits normally afforded only to spouses.

Wisconsin Family Action sued the state in 2010, saying that law creates a "legal status … substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals” in violation of the state Constitution. [That] case is pending before the state Supreme Court.

The story includes a link to the ACLU complaint filed today in federal district court, in the WD Wis.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 3, 2014 02:10 PM
Posted to Courts in general