Saturday, May 16, 2009

Can Wisconsin and Nevada introduce limited domestic partnerships despite constitutional bans on gay marriage?

05/15/09 AP:

"Gov. Jim Doyle's plan to give same-sex couples some legal protections likely does not violate Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage [Art. XIII, Sec. 13], according to a legal analysis prepared for lawmakers. The opinion boosts Doyle's bid to make Wisconsin the first state to create domestic partnerships for same-sex couples despite having a ban on gay marriage and 'substantially similar' relationships."

The Governor's plan encompasses the domestic partnership provisions in AB 75, the Biennial Budget Bill. The Wisconsin Legislative Council issued the legal opinion on May 6th. (It as an attachment to an analysis of the provisions by Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.) According to the opinion,

"[t]he historical context, the plain language, and the expressed intent concerning the constitutional provision arguably make it difficult for a challenger to overcome the strong presumption of constitutionality that the law creating the legal status of' domestic partnership would enjoy."

05/16/09 Las Vegas-Review Journal:

The Nevada Assembly failed to pass legislation on limited domestic partnerships[SB283] by a margin sufficient to override a promised veto by Governor Jim Gibbons. Under the proposed law, Assemblyman Ty Cobb, R-Reno, told the journal, "gay couples can secure inheritance, hospital visitation, end-of-life decision and other rights through private contracts."

Like Wisconsin, Nevada has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages (Art. I, Sec. 21), although the Nevada amendment does not preclude substantially similar relationships. But just as Wisconsin Governor Doyle sought a Legislative Council opinion for his domestic partnership proposal, "Cobb said SB283 supporters received an opinion from legislative lawyers that a domestic partnership is not the same as a marriage as defined by the constitutional amendment."

No comments:

Commentators, Subjects and Cases