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04/19/2007


Gypsy Vered Meltzer is Wisconsin's First Openly Trans Elected Official After Winning Council Race

Gypsy Vered Meltzer was elected to the Appleton City Council on Tuesday, making him Wisconsin's first openly trans elected official, the Post-Crescent reports:

MeltzerMeltzer identifies as a man and said his dreadlocks, 50-plus tattoos and gender identity are worth celebrating. But he says he’s ready to serve his constituents.

“I’m focused on the issues rather than myself and look forward to the day when this isn’t as interesting of a topic.

“It’s important to get more young people involved in politics. As someone who’s part of various subcultures, I want to show everyone that the door’s open, come on in and be part of local government.”

Fair Wisconsin applauded Meltzer's win:

“This election is an historic moment for Wisconsin in having the first openly transgender official,” said Katie Belanger, the group’s president. “I’d hope we’d see an increase in the number of elected officials from the transgender community across the state.”

Local and state advocacy groups cheered the election results.

The election was important for the often marginalized group, said Loree Cook-Daniels, policy and programdirector at FORGE, a Milwaukee-based transgender advocacy group.


Federal Judge Denies Motion to Stay Case Challenging Wisconsin's Gay Marriage Ban

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Monday denied a motion filed March 14 by state lawyers to stay a court challenge to Wisconsin's anti-gay marriage amendment, the Wisconsin State Journal reports:

CrabbIn her decision Crabb wrote that the state had not explained specifically how the decision in the domestic registry case is likely to change the issues in the marriage amendment case and whether the amendment violates the U.S. Constitution.

“As the plaintiffs point out, if the Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds the domestic partnership law, nothing changes,” Crabb wrote. “If the court invalidates the law, the only effect is to make the deprivation imposed on plaintiffs by (the marriage amendment) more severe. Thus, it is difficult to envision any scenario in which the state defendants could rely on the Supreme Court’s decision to strengthen their position.”

The ACLU, which is representing the same-sex couples, also filed a motion Monday asking that Crabb rule on the case without a trial in favor of the couples. State lawyers have asked that the case be dismissed.

The first hearing is scheduled for March 27.


ACLU Withdraws Request for Injunction Blocking Gay Marriage Ban, Requests Expedited Ruling

The ACLU has withdrawn a request for an injunction blocking Wisconsin's marriage ban while a court challenge is underway. Last week U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb said that she would deny the motion if it wasn't withdrawn, saying that even if she granted it, the order would immediately be challenged and stayed by the defendants.

WisconsinThe Wisconsin State Journal reports:

“Accordingly, plaintiffs withdraw their motion for preliminary relief in favor of final resolution on an expedited schedule as the court has recommended,” the ACLU memorandum said.

The plaintiffs suggested that both sides file a series of motions and responses to summary judgment by April 24. The Department of Justice, which is representing the state, declined to comment.

Two of the defendants — Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell and Milwaukee County Clerk Joseph Czarnezki — oppose the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage and are being represented by corporation counsel for those counties.


Federal Judge Won't Block Wisconsin's Gay Marriage Ban During Court Challenge But Will Move Quickly

Last week, the ACLU filed a motion seeking an injunction blocking Wisconsin's gay marriage ban during the court challenge. U.S. District Court Judge said on Tuesday that she probably won't block it since it would be immediately challenged, the Wisconsin State Journal reports:

Crabb“Of course, the premise of a preliminary injunction is that relief is needed now and cannot wait until the case is fully litigated,” Crabb wrote. “If a preliminary injunction must be stayed as soon as it is entered, it is not clear what purpose it serves.”

Crabb said she'll deny the motion if it isn't withdrawn. She also said "the case will proceed to summary judgment on an expedited schedule.”


ACLU Seeks Injunction Blocking Wisconsin Gay Marriage Ban During Court Challenge

Wisconsin

The ACLU has filed a brief asking a federal judge to issue an injunction blocking Wisconsin's gay marriage ban while the issue is fought in court, the AP reports:

The organization filed a motion on Thursday with U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, seeking a preliminary injunction that would essentially invalidate the ban until the lawsuit is decided.

In a brief accompanying the motion, the ACLU argued it’s entitled to a preliminary injunction because it’ll likely win the lawsuit and the ban imposes irreparable harm on same-sex couples.

The lawsuit was filed on February 3 by the ACLU on behalf of four couples.The first hearing is March 27.


Lawsuit Filed Challenging Wisconsin's Ban on Gay Marriage

Add another state to the list.

Kemp_carlsonThe Washington Blade reports:

Same-sex couples in Wisconsin joined others throughout the country on Monday in filing a lawsuit seeking same-sex marriage, but efforts there are unique because of the penalties for marrying in another jurisdiction.

The litigation seeks not only to overturn the state’s 2006 constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, but also to enjoin state official from enforcing a “marriage evasion law” prohibiting couples — gay and straight — from going elsewhere to marry.

The penalties of violating the marriage evasion law in Wisconsin, which is the only state to have such a statute, include up to $10,000 in fines and nine months in prison.

The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU, the ACLU of Wisconsin and Mayer Brown LLP before th U.S. Disctrict Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Marie Carlson and Charvonne Kemp of Milwaukee (pictured); Virginia Wolf and Carol Schumacher of Eau Claire, Wis.; Roy Badger and Garth Wangemann of Milwaukee; and Judith “Judi” Trampf and Katharina “Katy” Heyning of Madison are named as plaintiffs. Read their stories here.

The ACLU adds:

Among the plaintiff couples, Schumacher and Wolf were legally married in another state, raising the possibility of prosecution back at home. The lawsuit challenges the overall ban as well as the application of this criminal law to same-sex couples who are forced to choose between being denied federal protections and the risk of criminal prosecution.

“These families simply want the security and recognition that only marriage provides,” said Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “They have built their lives and raised children here. It is wrong for the state to treat these loving and committed couples as second-class citizens, and it is cruel to place them in a catch-22 where they can’t even travel elsewhere to obtain federal protections without their marriage being labeled a crime.”

Read the complaint HERE.


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