High Court unanimously affirms the state’s marriage amendment is constitutional
Madison – “Marriage and the will of the people are the clear winners in this decision,” said Julaine Appling, President of Wisconsin Family Council. “When Wisconsin voters passed the marriage amendment in 2006 by almost 60%, they recognized the purpose of the amendment was clear and simple: to protect the institution of marriage. The Wisconsin Supreme Court reinforced that purpose in their decision.”
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief on behalf of Wisconsin Family Council in this case.
“Once again, activists tried to use the courts to force something on the people that they have repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected.” said ADF Litigation Counsel Jim Campbell. “We should be strengthening—not undermining—marriage, which is one man and one woman.”
McConkey v. Van Hollen, in which Prof. Bill McConkey claims the amendment deals with two subjects rather than one as required by the constitution, began at the trial level in 2007 where Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Niess upheld the amendment’s constitutionality in 2008, stating in his decision that the single purpose of the amendment is “the preservation of the unique and historical status of marriage.”
McConkey appealed the decision to the District IV Court of Appeals. In early 2009, the appellate court opted to move the case up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court without acting on it; and in May of 2009, the Supreme Court accepted the case. Last November, the Court heard the oral arguments from McConkey’s attorney and the State Attorney General’s office.
Today, the Supreme Court released its opinion, stating:
…The two propositions contained in the marriage amendment plainly relate to the subject of marriage. And as the text of the amendment and context of its adoption make clear, the general purpose of the marriage amendment is to preserve the legal status of marriage in Wisconsin as between only one man and one woman. Both propositions in the marriage amendment relate to and are connected with this purpose. Therefore, the marriage amendment does not violate the separate amendment rule of Article XII, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution. Rather, the marriage amendment was adopted by the people of Wisconsin using the process prescribed by the constitution, and is properly now part of our constitution.
“The lawsuit’s accusation that the marriage amendment addresses multiple subjects was just a sneaky attempt to tear down what the voters clearly wanted,” said Appling. “The very reason we passed the marriage amendment was to protect marriage in our state from redefinition by judicial fiat. The court was right to reject this baseless lawsuit. Judges and politicians should never toss aside the will of the people in order to impose a system that intentionally deprives children of a mom and dad. Which parent doesn’t matter: a mom or a dad?”
WFC and ADF remain committed to protecting marriage in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Family Council is a statewide, not-for-profit organization advancing Judeo Christian principles and values in Wisconsin by strengthening and preserving marriage, family, life and liberty.