‘Family’ Group Fights Domestic Partners

     MADISON, Wisc. (CN) – A “family” group claims that Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry for same-sex couples is unconstitutional, because maintaining it will involve tax dollars, and the state defines marriage as “between one man and one woman.”

     Five members of Wisconsin Family Action sued Gov. Jim Doyle and other state officials in Dane County Court. The group claims that Wisconsin’s domestic-partner registry, created under the state’s Chapter 770, violates Section 13 of the Wisconsin Constitution “by creating and requiring official recognition of a legal status ‘substantially similar to that of marriage.'”
     Plaintiff Julaine Appling, president of WFA, wrote in her blog, “The registry created by Doyle and his liberal legislative cohorts creates a legal status substantially similar to that of marriage, which is in direct violation to the Wisconsin Constitution, Article 13, Section 13, the amendment which passed in November 2006. Doyle and his cronies went to great lengths to create a registry that is similar to marriage because they could not have same-sex marriage itself. Those who apply for the domestic partnership registry have to meet all the same requirements opposite-sex couples have to meet to get a marriage license, including pay the same amount for their registry certificate.”
     She complains in Superior Court that the state’s 2009-11 budget will use tax money to maintain the domestic-partner registry. She and her co-plaintiffs complain that Chapter 770 “even requires” county clerks to distribute to same-sex couples the same information about fetal alcohol syndrome that is given to heterosexual couples.
     Partners in the domestic registry would be entitled to the same “legal consequences” as heterosexual couples, the plaintiffs complain, including access to medical records, power of health care, eligibility for family leave, eligibility for victim’s compensation and rights to estate interests, among other things.
     The group claims that the registry, which “mirrors and mimics” real marriage, will unfairly raise taxes and use government money that could used for other purposes that are not illegal or unconstitutional.
     They seek declaratory judgment that the domestic partner registry and the domestic partner status that the registry creates are unconstitutional. They also want an injunction that will dissolve any domestic partnerships that have been recorded.
     Their lead counsel is Michael Dean with the First Freedoms Foundation of Waukesha.

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