WI AG says domestic partner registry violates state constitution

Today Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced he will not be defending the state against Wisconsin Family Action’s (WFA) legal challenge to the statewide, same-sex domestic partnership registry in Appling v. Doyle. Van Hollen’s statement leaves no question as to his opinion of the constitutionality of the domestic partnership registry.

In November 2006, Wisconsin voters amended our State Constitution to declare that marriage was between one man and one woman.  The amendment prohibits our government from recognizing any other legal status substantially similar to marriage.  But the general domestic partnership provisions contained in Act 28 do just that recognize a legal status that is substantially similar to the legal status of marriage…My oath isn’t to the legislature or the governor.  My duty is to the people of the State of Wisconsin and the highest expression of their will — the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin.  When the people have spoken by amending our Constitution, I will abide by their command.  When policymakers have ignored their words, I will not.

In his statement, the AG agrees with Wisconsin Family Action’s arguments against the registry, that the constitutionality of the domestic partnership registry hinges on the “nature of the ‘legal status’ of domestic partnerships and whether that status is ‘substantially similar to marriage.'” Because Van Hollen believes the legal status of the registry is, in fact, substantially similar to that of marriage and violates the state constitution, which he is sworn to uphold, he has declined to defend the registry.

According to Wisconsin law, it’s now up to the governor to appoint special counsel to represent him in the case.

As of this week, the Supreme Court has not officially accepted WFA’s petition for original action, but the Court has asked the state to file a response to WFA’s petition by August 31st, outlining the “relevant facts.”

Here’s the State Journal’s story and the Journal Sentinel’s article.

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9 comments on “WI AG says domestic partner registry violates state constitution

  1. WISSUP says:

    In a political atmosphere of liberalism, this stance by our attorney general is truly encouraging. This will help other conservatives to become energized, knowing we are represented by someone with a backbone who listens to the people he represents. Triple kudos to Van Hollen!

  2. Morgan says:

    Constitutional amendments of this nature are a violation of the rights of all Americans to be equal in every part of American life and to have full participation in being an American.

    I can’t imagine anything more unAmerican and more unacceptable than not being able to have the most significant person in your life visit you in the hospital just because some voters passed this vile and inhuman amendment that belongs in no constitution ever. However this wretched amemdment did not say you can not have your same-sex partner visit you in the hospital but this amendment unfortunately does have such far-reaching legal repercussions subject to this vicious interpretation that even boomerangs into the medical area. I can’t imagine anything more contrary to the well-being of a hosptal patient than having his or life partner barred from visiting even though it is a same-sex partner. What pray tell in tarnation does hospital visitation have to do with the institution of marriage and why should only legally married anyone be so priviledge that they can have they loved ones visit but a gay man or gay woman can’t have the one they love and count on the most for a visitor makes absolutely no sense at all.

    But apparently that’s the way the voters none of whom could possibly be gay, an AG who of course will never be gay, and WI hospitals who obviously don’t have any gay staff or any gay patients want it. Kind of like the weird president of Iran Ahmadinejad who denies that Iran has any gays. Of course after barbarically executing them as they are found out, or forcing them to flee for their lives or giving them a choice to undergo surgical gender reassignment or being imprisoned or executed Iran wouldn’t have any to speak of.

    Lucky for this AG and for the Wisconsin “Family” Council and the rest of the Wisconsin antigay crowd, gay people are not able to vote on THEIR marriages, even though that is the only way to have a fair and level playing field here.

    Liberals are needed to bring fairness, conservatives only bring sadness and hardship. AG Van Hollen, go buy yourself a heart.

    • Relocated1 says:

      ….just because some voters passed this vile and inhuman amendment ….

      Wow! Some voters? Um, yeah unfortunately for you there were more than “some”…pity.

      • Michele says:

        I (and I’m sure many other) do agree that there are privledges such as hospital visitation that are being denied that should be allowed. However these should be addressed individualy rather than forcing people to accept that marriage between homosexuals is the same as marriage between hetrosexuals. Anyone should be able to write a directive that non family members can visit them in say an ICU unit.

        Liberals want it only one way, they will do anything to get their agenda forced on the American people.

        Bet that statement made you mad. I don’t really mean it, but is the response to the fact that because I don’t believe that a man can marry a man that I have no heart and only want to bring hardship on the world. Think of all the hardship you have brought to all the dead children of America.

  3. WISSUP says:

    Contrarily, I cannot imagine anything more unacceptable than passing an amendment that VIOLATES and ERADICATES an existing law stating marriage is between one man and one woman. That, my friend, is unAmerican. It is also unconstitutional.

    Conservatives bring (T)truth, common sense, morality and honesty to the board.

    Our attorney general is unwilling to compromise according to the LAW. This is called a solid representation of the people who voted to keep marriage between one man/one woman and refuse to yield to the tactics of the minority to cross the line of unconstitutionality.

    He has my deepest gratitude.

  4. adjustmetoo says:

    I too am grateful for the AG in WI. I live here and I voted to preserve the traditional institution of marriage. In response to Morgan, you can list those visitors you want to visit at the hospital AND you can give consent to have ANYONE you want get information on your medical condition. A same sex partner can visit – obviously you listen to the liberal media that spreads such nonsense.

  5. csstevens says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for standing up for the law!!

  6. S. Roush says:

    Thank you for standing against the media bias & lobbyist for eradicating laws stating marriage is between one man & one woman. Praying for you. There is so much misinformation out there- thanks to our Attorney General JB Van Hollen for being a voice of honesty, justice, and support for our constitution. So grateful.

  7. Freddie Vincent says:

    You all really need to get a life! You are so ignorant. What harm comes to you and why do you care so much? Are you struggling with your own sexuality? Otherwise you would not care to take the time and energy to fight this. I can only hope that you be blessed with a gay child – and be forced to see this in a new light. You are incapable of seeing that this is NOT Gay Marriage. It is simply providing some rights to loving couples. Seriously, it is 2009 …and if you are acting this way in the name of God, try some self-reflection to what God had intended for his people – love one another. Stop standing in judgment.

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