Attorneys Petition Wis. Supreme Court Concerning Marriage Amendment

Attorneys petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday to review a case which will determine whether or not the state's domestic partnership registry is permissible under its constitution.

"The lifelong, faithful union of a man and a woman is the foundation of every healthy, stable society. The people of Wisconsin recognize this, and that is why they approved a constitutional amendment that specifically protects marriage from all imitators," said Austin R. Nimocks, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, in a statement.

Wisconsin voters approved the amendment, which recognizes marriage as being between one man and one woman, in 2006. The amendment also says the state cannot validate unions that are "identical or substantially similar to marriage."

In 2009 the state legislature and then-Gov. Jim Doyle passed Chapter 770, which legalized domestic partnerships between same-sex partners. Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), and several WFA board members sued state officials over the law, arguing that domestic partnerships are too similar to marriages and therefore violate the amendment passed in 2006.

After reviewing Appling v. Doyle, the Dane County Circuit Court and 4th District Court of Appeals have declared the law constitutional, causing the plaintiff's attorneys to take the legal battle to the Supreme Court.

"We are appealing the appellate court's decision because this domestic partnership scheme is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the voters intended to prevent," said Nimocks.

When the suit was first filed several years ago, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen refused to defend it because he believed Chapter 770 was unconstitutional. Likewise Gov. Scott Walker, who after taking office fired the attorneys hired by Doyle to defend the case, has also expressed his belief that Chapter 770 is unconstitutional.

Fair Wisconsin, the organization now defending the case, estimates that there are 16,500 same-sex couples in the state, according to its website.

"It is disappointing that the plaintiffs and the Alliance Defending Freedom are continuing their efforts to take away important legal protections from same-sex couples and their families. But, Fair Wisconsin, Lambda Legal and the domestic partners who have intervened in this case remain committed to defending the domestic partnership law," Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger told The Christian Post in an emailed statement. "We look forward to presenting our arguments to the Wisconsin Supreme Court."

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