Tag: court cases

Domestic Partner Benefits Considered By WI State Supreme Court

Posted by – October 24, 2013

So this happened in Wisconsin today: arguments were made to & for Wisconsin’s domestic partner benefits & registry.

At issue is whether domestic partnerships create a legal status that is “substantially similar” to marriage and therefore violate the state’s 2006 constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Gov. Jim Doyle signed the state’s domestic partnership registry into law as part of the 2009-2011 biennial budget. Domestic partnerships grant same-sex couples limited benefits, including visitation rights in hospitals and the right to inherit each other’s assets.

Julaine Appling, the executive director of Wisconsin Family Action, a socially conservative organization that opposes homosexuality, unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to take jurisdiction in an original action in 2009. The domestic partner registry has since been ruled constitutional by Dane County Judge Daniel Moeser, with that decision upheld by a state appeals court.

The appeals court ruled that, when considering eligibility requirements, formation requirements, rights, obligations, and termination requirements, “the ‘legal status’ of a domestic partnership is not ‘substantially similar’ to the ‘legal status’ of marriage.”

The idea is this: domestic partner benefits offer a few basic rights to same sex couples which come nowhere near what marriage bestows, but these wingnuts have taken the case to court in order to prove that even something as simple as hospital visitation “mimics” marriage which is expressly forbidden by the state’s super-DOMA.

Of course the problem is that Wisconsin has a super DOMA in the first place, and it can’t be challenged, even, until 2015.

Honestly, the whole fracas is embarrassing, especially now that it’s obvious which way the wind is blowing, but these conservative wingnuts are digging their heels in deeper now that it’s apparent they are losing the war (even if/when they win the battles).

*sigh*

Honestly, it’s like living in the Dark Ages, but cheers to my friends Kathy & Ann who are willing to stand up for their rights.

WI Domestic Partnerships

Posted by – December 22, 2012

In the midst of all this bad news – the NRA’s ongoing thick-headedness, Iowa’s full speed reversal into 1953 – there is some good news out of the state of Wisconsin: namely, that Wisconsin’s domestic partnership registry has been upheld as constitutional by a state appeals court.

This is especially good news as Wisconsin has a superDOMA in place, which not only bans same sex marriage but bans anything like marriage for same sex couples.

Here’s the basic gist:

Democratic lawmakers created the registry in 2009. Same-sex couples who join it are afforded a host of legal rights, including the right to visit each other in hospitals and make end-of-life decisions for one another. About 1,800 couples were on the registry at the end of 2011, according to the latest data from the state Department of Health Services.

Members of the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action filed a lawsuit in 2010 alleging the registry bestowed a legal status substantially similar to marriage to same-sex couples. The group argued that violates the Wisconsin Constitution’s ban on gay marriage.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen refused to defend the registry, declaring it was clearly unconstitutional. Former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, appointed private attorneys to defend it, but Republican Gov. Scott Walker fired them after he took office in 2011 because he, too, believed the registry was unconstitutional.

Fair Wisconsin, the state’s largest gay rights group, stepped into the case to defend the registry. Dane County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser ruled last summer that the registry was constitutional, finding it conveys a status that’s not identical or substantially similar to marriage.

Which means, in a nutshell, that right now is a damn good time to donate to Fair Wisconsin and thank them for their efforts on behalf of some very basic rights of same sex couples.

WI Court Refuses Domestic Partner Case

Posted by – September 17, 2012

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court today refused the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ request to certify the domestic partnership case. I’m working on getting more info, but in the meantime, the short motion is available online .

Breaking: CA Court Declares Same Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Posted by – February 7, 2012

Wow.