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Marriage equality advocates to launch petition drive in Wisconsin

Marriage equality advocates in Wisconsin are preparing to launch a petition drive aimed at persuading Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to stop defending the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

A series of news conferences will take place on Aug. 7 and involve the ACLU, Fair Wisconsin and Freedom to Marry.

Representatives plan to discuss the petition drive, as well as the launch of a new coalition, Wisconsin Unites for Marriage.

Launch locations on Aug. 7 include:

• Madison, 10 a.m., lobby of the city county building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Madison.

• Eau Claire, 10 a.m., Houligan's, 415 S. Barstow Street, Eau Claire.

• Milwaukee, 2 p.m., Plymouth Church, 2717 E Hampshire St, Milwaukee.

• LaCrosse, 2 p.m., Location TBA.

• Appleton, 2 p.m., Riverheath, 1155 E Banta Ct, Appleton.

A petition campaign to persuade South Carolina’s attorney general to drop a defense of that state’s anti-gay amendment also is ongoing, created after North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said he would not defend his state’s ban.

Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina, said, “Allowing marriage for gay couples who are truly committed to each other is simply treating them with dignity. The state should not be telling these couples they can't marry and treating some families as though they have second-class status.”

The Wisconsin coalition also is planning events on the eve of the oral argument in the equality case, which is set for Aug. 26 in Chicago. Already gatherings are planned in Milwaukee, Madison and Racine for Aug. 25 and a rally will take place in Chicago.

For more, go to www.aclu-wi.org. The coalition also is working on a website, which will be at www.wisconsinunites.org.

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