Lambda asks Wisconsin Supreme Court to uphold partnership law


Lambda Legal has filed a brief on behalf of Fair Wisconsin and five same-sex couples asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to uphold the state’s domestic partnership law as constitutional.

The high court will hear oral arguments in the case on Oct. 23.

Lambda senior staff attorney Christopher Clark said, “The domestic partnership law in Wisconsin is without question constitutional. The limited protections provided by domestic partnerships are a far cry from the significant rights, benefits and responsibilities associated with marriage. To suggest that the two types of relationships are impermissibly similar is an anti-gay stretch of the imagination.” 

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle signed the partnership bill in June 2009, several years after the state enacted a right-wing sponsored constitutional amendment defining marriage and any equivalent arrangement as only the union of a man and a woman.

The partnership law grants limited rights to registered same-sex couples, including hospital visitation and the ability to take a family medical leave to care for a sick or injured partner. 

Wisconsin Family Action, an anti-gay group, sued to overturn the partnership law, alleging that it violates the marriage amendment.

Lambda Legal has intervened on behalf of Fair Wisconsin and five same-sex couples.

In December 2012, the state court of appeals upheld the partnership law.

WFA challenged that decision, turning to the state Supreme Court.

Fair Wisconsin president and CEO Katie Belanger, in a news release, said, “Wisconsin’s same-sex couples need the domestic partnership registry – it provides important protections in a state that has banned same-sex couples from having the freedom to marry. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments as ‘nonsense,’ and that hasn’t changed.”