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Wisconsin Expecting Rush as Domestic Partnerships Become Law

Wisconsin's Domestic Partnership law, which was recently approved as part of a state budget and this week signed by Governor Jim Doyle, will likely make August a busy month for county clerks, Madison's Capital Times reports:

Wisconsin "[August 3 is] the day same-sex couples across the state, including an estimated 1,400 to 2,400 couples living in Dane County, will be able to take advantage of a historic piece of legislation signed Monday by Gov. Jim Doyle that for the first time recognizes domestic partnerships across the state. Along with the recognition come dozens of legal protections that previously were only granted to married couples, including the right to take family leave to care for a sick or dying partner, the ability to access a partner's medical records and the right to inherit a partner's property. In addition, Doyle approved granting health care benefits to the same-sex partners of state employees. 'My sense is we are going to be swamped,' [Dane County Clerk Bob]Ohlsen says. 'Even for those who already get benefits for their partner through their employer, there is a huge advantage to applying to the registry.'"

Wisconsin is now the first state with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions to recognize domestic partnerships.

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  1. Good for Wisc. Can Arizona be next?

    Posted by: Oppressed American | Jul 1, 2009 1:29:57 PM

  2. Concerning that last sentence: What exactly is the difference between domestic partnerships and civil unions? How can Wisconsin allow the former but ban the latter? I always thought that "domestic partnership" and "civil union" were interchangeable cover terms for almost-but-not-quite-marriage, with the exact range of rights and responsibilities differing from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

    Eventually it will all be moot, once our goal of full marriage equality has been reached. But in the meantime, couldn't someone challenge Wisconsin's domestic partnership law by saying it violates the ban on civil unions, claiming that they're basically the same thing?

    Posted by: Matt | Jul 1, 2009 1:57:03 PM

  3. What's the status of Nevada? You'd think they'd be hot on civil unions to save their economy... In this case, what happens in Vegas could have huge national impact.

    Posted by: my2cents | Jul 2, 2009 7:59:13 AM

  4. That's weird. I live in WI and hadn't even heard about this. Wi has a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage and anything similar. The amendment is going in front of the WI supreme court soon so I'm not sure what's going to happen. The amendement is being challenged because it addresses 2 things at once, gay marrige and civil unions. Also, they're ruling on whether or not the person bringing the lawsuit is able to. It's a real clusterf*ck here in WI, but our state motto is "Forward". Hopefully that's the direction we're going.

    Posted by: Frank | Jul 2, 2009 4:27:10 PM

  5. What about heterosexual couples that have been together for many years?

    Posted by: pkw | Aug 2, 2009 10:55:17 AM

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