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WI Supreme Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions yesterday. The court ruled unanimously that the 2006 amendment that banned both types of unions was properly put to voters in a state-wide ballot referendum, reports NPR. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh professor William McConkey originally filed the lawsuit against the state in 2007, arguing that the referendum violated the Wisconsin state constitution because it addressed more than one subject and asked voters to decide two questions instead of one, according to Chicago Pride. A Dane County Circuit Court ruled against McConkey in 2008. In the state Supreme Court ruling, Justice Michael Gableman wrote, “Both sentences of the marriage amendment relate to marriage and tend to effect or carry out the same general purpose of preserving the legal status of marriage in Wisconsin as between only one man and one woman,” according the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The court also ruled that McConkey, who has a lesbian daughter, did not have the legal standing to sue because he stated that he would have voted “no” even if the referendum had been rephrased into two separate questions. Had the amendment been nullified, same-sex marriage could still not be legal in Wisconsin because marriage is also defined in Wisconsin’s state constitution as “between a man and a woman.” Wisconsin is one of 30 states that have adopted constitutional amendments that limit same-sex couples’ rights to marry. The state of Wisconsin currently has a legal registry for same-sex domestic partnerships. Same-sex couples can file to receive approximately 40 of the 150 legal benefits of marriage in Wisconsin, including hospital visitation rights, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Sources:

Chicago Pride 6/30/10; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 6/30/10; NPR 6/30/10