Wisconsin Family Action Reacts to 7th Circuit’s Ruling on Marriage

Court says Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment is unconstitutional

WFA LogoMADISON—Today the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment, ruling it unconstitutional, just nine days after oral arguments.

“We are deeply disappointed but not surprised at this ruling,” said Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling. We knew we had the most liberal panel of judges on the 7th Circuit. When they denied the state’s request to have the case heard before all ten judges on the court, we pretty much knew what to expect.”

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Wisconsin’s marriage protection amendment and Indiana’s marriage law last Tuesday in Chicago.

“I was in the courtroom last Tuesday. I knew then what the outcome was going to be. Judge Posner in particular made his opinion quite clear. His clarity took a backseat only to his sarcasm,” Appling noted.

The opinion affirmed District Judge Barbara Crabb’s ruling and judgment, which means that the stay on removing the amendment remains in place while the case works its way through the appeals process. Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen has publicly indicated that the state will appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court.

Twenty states have had similar rulings. Already the 4th, 6th and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeal are either petitioning the US Supreme Court to take their cases or will be soon.

“We’ve known all along these cases from all across the country would end up at the US Supreme Court. Apparently the 7th Circuit wants to get in at the front of the line on that process,” Appling commented.

Yesterday a federal judge in Louisiana issued a ruling affirming that state’s marriage protection amendment.

Appling commented, “We finally have a federal judge with courage, common sense and an understanding of the law—one that is not in the pocket of a small minority of people that are determined to redefine and thereby deconstruct society’s most important institution. That’s hopeful as we head to the highest court in the land.

“The struggle to preserve and protect traditional marriage is far from over. This ruling does not change the fact that a marriage of one man and one woman is the healthiest, most prosperous, and most stable place not only for the man and woman but also for the children they may bring into the world. The ruling is a denial of reality. While every marriage may not have children, every child has both a mother and father. This ruling denies children of either a mother or a father. Our organization will continue to aggressively take the message everywhere across this state that marriage between a man and woman is good not only for the individuals in a given marriage, but is also good for Wisconsin,” Appling concluded.

What’s the harm?; Confusing children about the truth of marriage

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

Several years ago I received a call from a distraught mother with a horrific story. This woman’s son, we’ll call him Davey, attended a public elementary school in Madison. He was in first grade. One day he came home from school and told his mother that his class had had a couple of visitors that day. He said two ladies had come in and talked with them.

marriage defendingThis young boy proceeded to tell his mother that the one lady had told his class about some students who had two mommies or two daddies and that, in fact, she had married her best friend—and that the other lady with her was her best friend and who she had married. This confused six-year-old looking at his mom with genuine concern said, “Mommy, Mikey is my best friend. Does that mean I have to marry him?” Making the situation worse was that the visit and the talk took place with no parental notification let alone advance parental permission.

Now, maybe in some warped universe or in some person’s twisted thinking, this type of situation is just fine. But I believe most people would consider this to be a violation of this child’s innocence. They would believe that first graders being directly confronted with homosexuality and same-sex marriage is wrong and is harmful to the children. At a minimum it causes confusion in these young ones about marriage, gender, and even friendship. This early confusion can result in serious problems down the road.

When this student’s mom and dad brought the situation to the school officials, basically what they were told was this is school policy; and they just had to deal with it. Short of filing a lawsuit, which they did not want to do, their hands were tied. Few would deny the utter trampling of parental rights in this mess.

Some will dismiss this story because it happened in Madison. And there is some validity to that. Madison School District had just a year or so before this incident hired the one woman, paying her over $60,000 a year and likely over $70,000 by now, to advocate on behalf of students and staff who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. She also obviously had permission to go to the classrooms to do her so-called advocating.  Not every Wisconsin school district had or has this position on its staff.

Last Tuesday, I sat in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, listening to two hours of oral argument regarding Wisconsin’s marriage amendment and Indiana’s marriage statute. In that courtroom I was keenly reminded that if marriage is redefined in Wisconsin, what happened to this little first-grade boy will not be restricted to Madison. It stands to be repeated in every school district in this state. Once marriage is legally redefined to include people of the same sex, there will be no legal grounds to prevent the promotion and normalization of aberrant relationships to students regardless of their age.

It was more than a little dismaying to hear the Assistant Attorneys General from  Wisconsin and Indiana both flail under tough questioning from the 7th Circuit judges, especially when they asked what harm legalizing same-sex marriage would do and to whom. Tragically, neither could or would respond with any kind of definitive answer.

confusionMaybe they weren’t aware of stories like Davey’s. Maybe they didn’t know that after marriage was redefined in Massachusetts that the father of a first-grader in public school was arrested because he refused to leave school property until he got an assurance that he would be notified if books promoting homosexuality or same-sex marriage were going to be read to his son. The school’s position was that since same-sex marriage was legal in the state, homosexual marriage was to be treated just like heterosexual marriage.  Just as they would not give advance warning to parents if a book was going to be read about a heterosexual married couple, they now will not give advance warning to parents if a book is going to be read about a homosexual married couple.

This is just one specific example of two very real harms that will happen, sooner rather than later, if marriage is redefined in our state. There are others, to be sure. Attorneys arguing in defense of our marriage protection amendment should certainly be able to articulate clearly these harms that are sure to or likely to happen should marriage be redefined.

But it’s not just attorneys who must be prepared to answer this question. Anyone who understands the foundational role one-man/one-woman marriage plays in our society or any society must also be able to relate the harms that will happen—whether to innocent first-grade boys and girls or to the entire culture—if marriage is redefined. We must all become knowledgeable, winsome, articulate defenders of marriage if we are serious about safeguarding children and the institution of marriage as the foundation of society.

WISCONSIN: Marriage goes back to court – TOMORROW

On Tuesday, August 26, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago will hear oral arguments on Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment that prohibits homosexual marriage.

In June of this year, liberal U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that Wisconsin’s 2006 Marriage Protection Amendment, voted on and approved by nearly 60% of those voting in Wi, was unconstitutional.  Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen appealed Crabb’s decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Wisconsin case is joined by a similar case from Indiana. Wisconsin Family Action has already issued an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Indiana case; that brief will suffice for both cases as they are now being considered together.

It is unclear when the Federal Court will issue a final decision.

“Wisconsin Unites for Marriage,” a pro-homosexual group based in Wisconsin, formed by the ACLU, Fair Wisconsin and Freedom to Marry is planning a “marriage bus tour” to Chicago that day and a rally after the hearing.

WFA president Julaine Appling, will attend the hearing  on behalf of WFA and the others represented in the friend-of-the-court brief and shares, “There’s something more critical Christians can do than showing up there—and that is pray.  We covet your prayers for this hearing. We also urge Christians to visit wifamilycouncil.org and sign our Marriage Declaration.  That too is very important. We can do way better than 3000.

New Wisconsin Coalition Pushing Acceptance of Same-Sex “Marriage”

Homosexual activists have begun a push in The Badger State to “educate” citizens on why same-sex “marriage” would be good for the state.  The ACLU, Fair Wisconsin, and Freedom to Marry have formed a coalition to hold events across the state to try to gain support for their position.  This in spite of the fact that in a 2006 vote, nearly 60% of Wisconsin voters voted to keep marriage in our state between one man and one woman.  This past June, a lone federal judged ruled that state constitutional amendment violates the US constitution.  That decision is being appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals with oral arguments scheduled for August 26 in Chicago.

WFA president Julaine Appling notes, “People have a right to form coalitions, spend money and get their message out, even those wanting to redefine, and thereby deconstruct our state’s most important institution.  The question is, do those of us who know the truth about why marriage between one man and one woman is a public good care as much about getting our message out as do those who oppose God’s plan We, too, must put our time and our money into making sure people know the truth.”

>>>>>read more about this coalition HERE

What you can do:

  • Talk with others about marriage, the importance of traditional marriage, and God’s plan for this sacred institution.
  • Hold a Bible study, or encourage others to gather for a study, to learn more about marriage God’s way.
  • Pray for those who are seeking to tear apart marriage as between one man and one woman.
  • Download, read, and share our newest publication, Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition, to learn more about the benefits of marriage in our state and the harmful effects of marriage breakdown in our society, and across the nation.

WFA Responds: WI Supreme Court Recognizes Uniqueness of Marriage

State High Court Says Same-Sex Domestic Partnerships Not Like Marriage

Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the Badger State’s domestic partnership registry as “constitutional” in a landmark decision that defied the will of Wisconsin’s voters.

Wisconsin Family Action president, Julaine Appling, is not discouraged, though, as the ruling defined what we already know to be true – marriage is a unique institution and remains so in the state of Wisconsin.

Read the full press release from WFA below:

MADISON— Today the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the same-sex-only, statewide domestic partnership enacted by Governor Doyle through the state budget in 2009, does not violate the Marriage Protection Amendment approved by the voters in 2006. This is in spite of the fact that the Amendment prohibits any “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals.”

“While we are disappointed that the Wisconsin Supreme Court did not agree with us, what’s important is that marriage remains between one man and one woman in Wisconsin and that even in this ruling, the court recognized that marriage is unique and nothing like relationships formed by same-sex couples,” said Julaine Appling, one of the plaintiffs in the case and president of Wisconsin Family Action.

Many years ago (1959) the legislature wrote the following statement into Wisconsin law. Marriage is the institution that is the foundation of the family and of society. Its stability is basic to morality and civilization, and of vital interest to society and the state. . . . . Under the laws of this state, marriage is a legal relationship between 2 equal persons, a husband and wife, who owe to each other mutual responsibility and support. (Wis Stats 765.001(2))

Plaintiffs led the effort to ratify and defend Wisconsin’s Marriage Amendment to protect that institution. Our concern was that Ch. 770 creates a relationship that is substantially like marriage and dilutes its public meaning and significance.

Appling noted, “Although the court today ruled against us, it also recognized that the Marriage Amendment affirms what the legislature recognized long ago. Marriage is a unique relationship between one man and one woman, and it is the only relationship so indispensable to children and society that when husband and wife agree to marry, they may not unilaterally end that relationship. The state itself will step in and enforce duties of mutual obligation and support.”

Wisconsin Family Action will continue defending Wisconsin law and the uniqueness of marriage between one man and one woman.

NEW! Wisconsin Primary Voter Guide Released

Who are our leaders – REALLY?  
What’s behind the polished speeches
and promises to make our lives better?

>>>>>Click HERE to watch a video that explains how YOU can affect change in Wisconsin, and in Washington, with your VOTE.

Less than 20% of voters actually vote in the PRIMARY elections in their state, yet did you know…

  • primaries determine the election?
  • in low-voter-turnout elections, your vote matters more than ever?
Wisconsin’s Primary Election is Tuesday, August 12.

That’s less than 3 weeks away!  How do you know who to vote for?  Who are the candidates? How have incumbents voted in the past?

YOUR customized voter guide is NOW AVAILABLE – CLICK HERE!  

The Wisconsin Voter Guide is a combination of:

  • Voting records/ratings
  • Financial contributions
  • Endorsements
  • Candidate website
  • Comprehensive candidate survey

Each candidate is evaluated by a panel of volunteers, people like you, who are dedicated to helping others vote wisely.  
Click HERE for general voter information and to see if you have a primary on your ballot.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Access the Voter Guide TODAY.  Take a close look.  If you want, print off your local races and be prepared for the Wisconsin Primary Election on August 12!
  • SHARE SHARE SHARE this Voter Guide with everyone you know who is eligible to vote in Wisconsin!  Print off extra copies of the Voter Guide candidate results for your local race and distribute them to neighbors and others in your voting district.
  • Copy and paste this link:  http://goo.gl/ORWhCW  (this is just a shortened URL that goes directly to our WI Voter Guide) in an email, on Twitter, or on your Facebook, and let others know about this valuable voting tool!

Gauging the Well-Being of Wisconsin

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Council president, Julaine Appling:

“Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition: Gauging the Well-being of Wisconsin”

In 1997, Wisconsin Family Council released the first edition of Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators.   It was a well-received publication in part because it was the only document of its kind that brought together important statistics giving a panoramic snapshot of Wisconsin.  We released the second edition in 2008.

Modeled after William Bennett’s The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators at the national level, our Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators provides an overview of important indicators that impact Wisconsin’s best natural resource:  traditional families.  When Wisconsin’s families are healthy, Wisconsin is healthy.  When our state’s families are weak, struggling, and dependent on the government, that is sure to be reflected in the overall health of the state. As the family, so the state.

The greatly expanded 2014 edition of Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators follows in the footsteps of the 1997 and 2008 editions and continues to track critical indicators, typically, over a substantial amount of time, almost 50 years in some instances.  When we present these indicators graphically, we are able to see trends—trends that reveal how healthy or unhealthy our state is in specific areas and in a general sense.  As we look at these trends, we are also able to assess whether or not interventions have been helpful. This in turn can provide direction for policy and decision makers on whether or not to maintain such interventions or to introduce others.

ImageIn this 2014 edition, we basically doubled the size of the publication because we added what I consider to be an extremely important section.  Entitled, “Family Structure,” this opening 29-page section shows in graphs, charts and tables that family structure really does matter to Wisconsin’s well-being.  On every measure we considered, husband-wife families do better than single-parent families in Wisconsin.

For instance, single-mother households are much more likely to live in poverty.  Single-parent households are much more likely to take government assistance, including Food Stamps and other income assistance.  One table we provide shows that a single-mother with two children would lose $2,600 every month in government-subsidies if she were to marry.  In annual numbers, this single mom has over $36,000 of taxpayer money coming into the household from credits and programs such as Earned Income Credit for both the state and federal government, Child Tax Credit, WIC, and other subsidies.

Other statistics show that Wisconsin’s marriage rate has dropped nearly 38% in just the last 12 years and that Wisconsin’s total fertility rate has been below replacement levels since 1975.  Replacement level is 2.1 children per woman.  We have vacillated between 1.7 and 1.9 for 39 years.   The data also shows that while teen births have gone down, births to unmarried women have steadily risen since 1960, when only 3% of babies were born out of wedlock to 2010 when 37% of Wisconsin babies were born to unwed mothers.  That figure correlates closely with 50% of the babies born in 2010 having their births paid for by Medicaid.

On some indicators we separated out Milwaukee from the rest of the state.  Milwaukee numbers show an even more startling difference between married and unmarried households.  I believe it is very fair and very accurate to say that written all over this publication is the impact of fatherlessness on a state and a community.

Quite honestly, the data tells the story.  We do provide some analysis and additional information from current research.   Our hope is that public officials, educators at all levels, business leaders, pastors, ministry leaders, and lay citizens will find this Wisconsin Cultural Indicators 2014 Edition instructive and helpful as they make decisions affecting Wisconsin’s future.  We want this publication to make a real difference in our state as we work to improve and increase Wisconsin’s best natural resource—her married mom-and-dad families.

This unique and significant report is available online HERE.