ACLU of Wisconsin urges quick decision on marriage appeal

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The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Wisconsin this week urged the governor and the state attorney general to make a quick decision about appealing a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

The court decision was put on hold in anticipation of the state’s appeal, but so far the state has not yet been filed.

“Our clients and other same-sex couples in Wisconsin are faced with the continuing indignity of seeing their families denigrated by the state’s refusal to allow them to marry or to recognize their marriages entered elsewhere,” wrote John Knight, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project and Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin in a letter to Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. “Even if you believe you will win, please file your appeal promptly to resolve the uncertainty that same-sex couples, their children, as well as employers and other businesses and government offices who interact with same-sex couples are facing until the constitutionality of Wisconsin’s ban on marriage is resolved.”

Because the judge’s order is suspended from taking effect, same-sex couples who wish to marry or who wish to have their out-of-state marriages recognized face continued harm, according to the ACLU.

For example, two of the clients in the case, Kami Young and Karina Willes, had a daughter in March. But because Willes is not the birth mother, she lacks official parental recognition and was not listed on the birth certificate. This places her role as a parent in jeopardy and casts uncertainty over custody of their daughter should anything happen to Young.