Wisconsin Court of Appeals Upholds Statewide, Same-sex-only Domestic Partner Registry
WFA will continue to defend marriage, the constitution and the will of Wisconsin voters
MADISON—“We are disappointed with the Circuit Court’s opinion, but once again it does not weaken our resolve to defend Wisconsin’s Marriage Amendment,” said Julaine Appling, President of Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) and plaintiff in Appling et al. v. Doyle et al. “The people of Wisconsin have strongly affirmed the lifelong, faithful union of a man and a woman as the fundamental building block of civilization. Our system of government serves no purpose if politicians can ignore the will of the people with impunity.”
Today, a 3-judge panel from Branch 4 of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals released an opinion upholding the decision of the Dane County Circuit Court that the statewide, same-sex-only domestic partnership registry is constitutional. The plaintiffs, all of whom are WFA board members, and their attorneys intend to appeal to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.
Gov. Doyle and Democratic legislators put the statewide, same-sex-only domestic partnership registry into the 2009-2011 state budget. WFA board members, through Alliance Defending Freedom and its allied attorneys Mike Dean of First Freedoms Foundation and Richard M. Esenberg, filed a petition for original action with the State Supreme Court, which the court denied in late 2009, sending WFA back to the trial court level. WFA filed a brief in the Dane County Circuit Court on August 18, 2010. In June 2011, the Circuit Court ruled the registry was constitutional. Shortly thereafter WFA board members appealed to the Court of Appeals.
“The people of Wisconsin recognize that marriage provides a strong foundation for a thriving society. That’s why they approved a constitutional amendment that specifically protects marriage from all imitators. Politicians and activist groups should not be allowed to get around that,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks. “We will appeal this decision because this domestic partnership scheme is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the voters intended to prevent.”
“In November of 2006, over 1.25 million Wisconsin voters approved the referendum prohibiting any ‘legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals,’” noted Appling. “We stand by the will of the people of Wisconsin, and we will continue to defend marriage and the constitution. That defense will now include an appeal of this opinion to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.”