Gay Marriage | News | Wisconsin

Wisconsin Supreme Court Votes 7-0 to Uphold Ban on Gay Marriage

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled on same-sex marriage, the AP reports:

Wisconsin"In a 7-0 ruling, the court on Wednesday ruled that the 2006 constitutional amendment was properly put to voters in a statewide referendum. The court rejected a lawsuit that claimed the amendment violated a rule that limits referendum questions to a single subject. The lawsuit, filed by a voter opposed to the amendment, argued that gay marriage and civil unions were two different subjects. Justice Michael Gableman says both sentences 'carry out the same general purpose of preserving the legal status of marriage in Wisconsin as between only one man and one woman.'

In May 2009, the WaPo wrote that a ruling striking down the amendment would not legalize same-sex marriage but would "pave the way for lawmakers to eventually allow it, or for advocates to file lawsuits seeking that right." Unfortunately that didn't happen today.

Wisconsin has a domestic partner registry which went into effect in August of 2009. In November 2009, the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging domestic partnership benefits in the state.

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  1. Wisconsin, a state nobody gives a fuck about populated by morons who milk cows all day.

    When's the last time you heard "Hey honey, you know where we should go for our vacation? Wisconsin!"

    They're probably just catching on to Ace of Base.

    Posted by: Gridlock | Jun 30, 2010 9:48:42 AM

  2. @Gridlock -- I imagine you don't know that Wisconsin was the first state to enact a state statute banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But why let facts get in the way of your rant?

    Posted by: Brian | Jun 30, 2010 9:58:31 AM

  3. @Brian - but obviously that statue is worthless as they have enshrined discrimination into their constitution.

    Posted by: Todd in NYC | Jun 30, 2010 10:03:57 AM

  4. *twirls finger* discrimination based on sexual orientation apparently still exists considering marriage is still off the table.

    Posted by: Gridlock | Jun 30, 2010 10:06:47 AM

  5. I can't believe the Court ruled unanimously on this issue especially considering the controversial nature. And I helped get Chief Justice Aberhamson re-elected... she really let me down and so did the rest of the Courts more sensible justices. I guess I won't be returning home to WI anytime soon :(

    Posted by: Terry | Jun 30, 2010 10:11:04 AM

  6. gridlock, seriously? personally, i give a fuck about wisconsin because i live here. and i have no desire to go live somewhere else. i'm not a farmer. i'm a doctor who proudly comes from a family of farmers and i'm an activist and fundraiser for many LGBT causes. and i'm not sure why you would call all of us morons who milk cows all day. something tells me you are probably from the "ultra cool" NY or CA (neither of which allow gay marriage and one whose people also voted for a ban on gay marriage), states whose largest agricultural industry is dairy farming - individually producing more milk than WI. have you ever even been here? this is the most ignorant and hateful statement i've heard right out of the gate for no apparent reason. this is just another kind of low class bashing. i hope the rest of the readers will join me in condemning this kind of behavior.

    and, as a point of clarification, the state supreme court did not uphold the ban on gay marriage. they were ruling on whether the referendum that the people voted on violated the state's constitution requiring only one statement to be included in a referendum. what they upheld was the consitutionality of the referendum. the court was not deciding on the constitutionality of gay marriage.

    lastly, you out of staters, you should say "hey honey let's go vacation in wisconsin". i bet you'd come back. door county is beautiful this time of year.

    Posted by: bob | Jun 30, 2010 10:21:14 AM

  7. While I would like nothing better than to see same-sex marriage in all 50 states, today's ruling was not surprising. The amendment was challenged on very technical grounds, and the entire argument was rather subjective (is limiting marriage to 1 man + 1 woman the same thing as preventing the possibility both same sex marriage and civil unions and does this limitation comprise one subject or two separate subjects)?
    Actually, I think the Court's reasoning here was sound, and there's no reason I can see to suspect that it was based on any anti-gay feeling.

    Posted by: Hunter | Jun 30, 2010 10:26:32 AM

  8. Couldn't have said it any better than Bob. I attended one of the premier public universities in this country, UW-Madison, and have chosen to stay in Madison while pursuing a career in real-estate (it's a thriving city with an economy that has stayed strong during the recession).

    Most who live in the midwest, even the major cosmopolitan city of Chicago tend to highly value Wisconsin and it's beautiful landscapes.

    Andy: You should really mention the basis of this case, as I think the supreme court justices were correct in their conclusions. There are other challenges still active in the state that have much more footing than this technicality ever did.

    oh, and gridlock, get a clue.

    Posted by: Derek in Madison | Jun 30, 2010 10:36:40 AM

  9. 7-0 should show you that in general citizens groups should not raise technical challenges to constitutional referendums that have passed. The best time to raise these questions and challenge them in court is before they pass. Get the courts to stop the referendum before it comes to a vote. Otherwise, they are going to punt.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 30, 2010 10:50:02 AM

  10. When the majority of people put minorities rights on a ballot and vote them away and the courts agree that this is constitutional then..that is very frightening!

    This may happen again someday and for the people on the may be in the "minority" list the next time. We've all heard the expression "what goes around comes around."

    Posted by: JamesStone | Jun 30, 2010 10:55:58 AM

  11. Gridlock has clearly never been to Wisconsin. Or Chicago, either... many MANY people from Chicago choose to have summer homes in Wisconsin. Madison is one of the most highly educated cities in the country, and is a leader in medical stem cell research. Madison also has a vibrant music scene and is a very nice place to live.

    Bitches, please quit bashing states you've never been to. Living here and having to hear about the state supreme court's decision is hard enough without having to read your fucking sophomoric, bilious, ignorant bullshit. Believe me, your state is no fucking better.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jun 30, 2010 11:29:34 AM

  12. well I aint gonna bash it- I just don't spend my money in bigoted/hateful..discriminatory basically I barely go anywhere in america....tho going to vermont this summer & gettin married aug 4th,to my partner of 10yrs. we'll spend OUR money in affirming states.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Jun 30, 2010 11:38:29 AM

  13. Hey guys, the ruling wasn't on gay marriage, it was on whether the statewide referendum was done properly or not. The court has no descretion over whether or not an amendment is constitutional, as the purpose of an amendment is to modify the constutuion. Sometimes making the right legal decision does not mean they support the content of the amendment. This ruling opens the door to send this issue into the federal courts.

    Posted by: Chipp | Jun 30, 2010 11:55:09 AM

  14. If these judges see marriage and civil unions as the same thing, I wonder how many of them got civil unioned, instead of married?

    The Prop 8 testimony made clear that there is a significant difference between marriage and civil unions, both legally and socially.

    Indeed, the majority opinion across the country these days appears to be to support civil unions and oppose marriage. Presumably some of the folks holding this opinion live in Wisconsin. What were they supposed to vote on this issue? Yes? No?

    All seven of these judges have just massively failed to look at the evidence. There is serious legal rot in Wisconsin.

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 30, 2010 12:06:38 PM

  15. Go ahead and rip on Wisconsin all you want, you could say nearly the same thing about not wanting to visit Iowa which is right next door. I don't mind if we vent to each other but let's not put our allies down in the process. As many others have said before, if you're not able to give money to groups that are fighting these discriminatory laws then please be a leader in letting outsiders know that gay and lesbian couples are not much different from straight couples. If we put a human face on the issue our side wins.

    Posted by: ulmus | Jun 30, 2010 12:54:43 PM

  16. I disagree with and deplore this decision.

    Yet, Wisconsin has good universities, excellent tap water in Stevens Point, and elects Democratic senators to the U.S. Congress (and they're real Democrats). The cheese, I find uninspiring.

    Naturally, the struggle must continue and we need to man up and appeal this decision. Such an amendment may be procedurally defensible, but the substance goes against the principle of liberty and justice for all.

    I hope someone is writing a history of this historic period of litigation in the struggle for gay liberation.

    Posted by: Fahd | Jun 30, 2010 1:29:25 PM

  17. I know the case was a long shot anyway. Still, I'm ashamed of my home state for having this discriminatory amendment in the first place.

    As far as Wisconsin being a progressive state, its only progressive politically. Socially, it is more on the conservative side. I hate to bring this up but the 2006 gay marriage ban passed in every county except Dane county (where Madison is located). Still, its good to know that 40% was against the ban.

    Couple of positive notes about Wisconsin. Our governor was able to get our legislature to pass limited domestic partnership last year (barely, I might add. Republicans were no help what so ever as usual). It is also true that our state was the first to ban discrimination against sexual orientation in regards to employment and housing. Plus, Madison is listed by Advocate as one of the gayest cities in America (We are No. 5).

    I'd say Wisconsin is a work in progress. We are getting there but I'm thankful for groups like Fair Wisconsin that fight for LGBT rights in our state.

    Posted by: Sam | Jun 30, 2010 1:55:38 PM

  18. You can get married in Iowa.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jun 30, 2010 2:24:35 PM

  19. I'm not terribly surprised it ruled that way, not knowing wisconsin and It's court I am surprised it was a not a split or even closely split decision to uphold their DOMA.
    I mean 06 when the Washington State Supreme Court uphold the states DOMA it was a 5-4 (with even the majority urging the the legislature to basically look at overturning it) but it was found on same idea that the legislature had put it in place threw the correct legal proses in 1998

    Posted by: Dodge_Man | Jun 30, 2010 2:45:42 PM

  20. @Disgusted American: I agree. I'll visit and spend my money in States that recognize my dignity as a human being and my equality as a citizen.

    By the way, I wish you and your partner a very happy marriage. Love and best wishes.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jun 30, 2010 3:06:10 PM

  21. Not surprising in the least. Not really even sad by it, it was a shot in the dark at best.

    I a citizen of Wisconsin and while I'm disappointed in the 2006 Marriage Ban I'm still happy to live here. Coming from Milwaukee, a highly under rated city, and now living in La Crosse I have met so many amazing people working for our rights and met so many great allies that I'm not jaded enough to just give up.

    Posted by: Laizden | Jun 30, 2010 4:08:31 PM

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    Posted by: kaang | Aug 4, 2010 2:18:49 AM

  23. Wisconsin has the highest illiteracy rate of any state in the nation. You thought it was a deep south state? Wrong! Wisconsin is populated by certifiable imbeciles who can't spell, read or write. The "legal" system in Wisconsin is a joke and a travesty. Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that does not require lawyers to pass the Bar Exam in order to be licensed. And you wonder why Wisconsin is considered the most backward, evil state in the U.S. Now you know! Wisconsin should withdraw from the union and form its own country of backwoods hillbillies who go out and shoot a possum every night for dinner.

    Posted by: joshua | Oct 12, 2010 4:09:44 PM

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