WI State Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Domestic Partner Registry

Story Date: 
Jul 31, 2014

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court today issued a ruling in Appling v. Walker, holding that the domestic partnership registry is constitutional.

The ACLU, ACLU of Wisconsin, and lawyers from Quarles & Brady submitted an amicus brief in the case. The domestic partner registry was defended by Lambda Legal and the Madison law firm Stafford & Rosenbaum.

The ACLU’s brief was filed on behalf of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce and four couples who stood to lose crucial protections such as hospital visitation, the ability to make certain decisions about medical care and to access family medical leave if the law was overturned.  The law was challenged by an anti-LGBT organization that contended that the law grants same-sex couples a substantially similar status to marriage, which is barred by the Wisconsin Constitution. The same organization originally campaigned to secure the marriage amendment’s passage, claiming at the time that domestic partnerships would not be affected.

 “The ACLU of Wisconsin feels that this is an important case because while domestic partnership protections don’t provide the same security as marriage, they do provide a lifeline for same-sex couples and their families in times of crisis. This lawsuit was nothing more than a mean-spirited and uncalled for attack on families who just want to be able to provide for each other,” said Larry Dupuis, Legal Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin.

Chris Ahmuty, Executive Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, said, “The Court’s unanimous decision upholding the domestic partner registry is another sign that intolerance and bias against same-sex couples have lost ground.  This bodes well for the ACLU’s federal court challenge to the Wisconsin ban on same-sex marriage.”

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