Defending Marriage: A High Honor

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Council president Julaine Appling:

One of the highest honors I have is to strengthen, preserve and promote marriage in this great state.  From time to time, our work includes defending this God-ordained, God-designed institution, the people who share our belief in marriage, and rule of law in our state.   Last week, I and four board members of Wisconsin Family Action, our sister organization once again had the privilege of doing just that.

marriageIn the fall of 2006, nearly 60% of the voters approved Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment, which preserves God’s plan for marriage in our state law.

Basically from the moment that the amendment passed, it has been under legal attack.

In July 2007, a UW-Oshkosh professor filed a lawsuit alleging that the amendment dealt with two subjects not just one, and therefore the vote was unconstitutional.  In 2009, the State Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the amendment dealt with only one subject—marriage.  We were privileged to have filed a couple friend-of-the-court briefs in this case, in defense of the institution of marriage, the will of the people, the rule of law and the state constitution.

The fight didn’t end there. In 2009, Governor Jim Doyle enacted through the state budget a statewide, same-sex-only domestic partnership that at the very least is substantially similar to marriage.  Our attorneys immediately filed a lawsuit on our behalf alleging that the partnership is unconstitutional. We filed the lawsuit because it is absolutely imperative that the institution of marriage, the will of the people, the rule of law and the state constitution be defended.

Last year, the case reached the State Supreme Court and oral arguments were held this past October.  Right now we are waiting for the court to issue its ruling in this case.

But that’s not all.  On February 3 of this year, Wisconsin’s number was up.  The ACLU, on behalf of 16 open homosexuals, filed a lawsuit in federal court here in The Badger State, alleging that the amendment passed by a majority of state legislators in two consecutive sessions and then soundly approved by “we the people,” is unconstitutional.  The lawsuit alleges that the amendment violates the equal protection clause of the US Constitution, as well as the due process clause.

We were pleased that current Attorney General JB VanHollen immediately said he would vigorously defend the amendment on behalf of the state.  We also knew given that we have been uniquely and substantially involved with this amendment from the beginning that we could add to the supporting arguments.  So, our attorneys petitioned Federal Judge Barbara Crabb to allow us to file a friend-of-the-court brief in this critical case.

Earlier this month, the court granted us permission, in spite of the fact that the ACLU and its clients vigorously opposed our petition.  I am pleased to tell you that last Wednesday, May 14, we formally filed our brief in this case again defending marriage, the will of the people, and the rule of law and the state constitution.

adfIn every one of these cases, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom have stepped up and taken us on as clients.  Their stable of extremely competent attorneys across the country and especially their local allied attorneys right here in Wisconsin have done an extraordinary job of working with us in defending marriage, the will of the people, the rule of law and the Wisconsin Constitution.  We are deeply grateful for their ongoing help.

The lesson in this history of Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment is that defending marriage is not a one-and-done deal. It requires eternal vigilance on the part of all of us.  It demands a great deal of time, money, skilled attorneys, and commitment—and certainly calls for much prayer.  It requires strategic partnerships, not the least of which is partnerships with the Christian citizens in this state who share our values.  We covet your prayers and involvement as God leads you, as we daily have the high honor of strengthening, preserving, promoting and, yes, defending marriage and family in our great state.

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