In Appling v. Doyle, 2009AP001860-OA (Wis. Sup. Ct.), board members of Wisconsin Family Action petitioned the state Supreme Court to take jurisdiction in an original action against the state's new domestic registry law. Petitioners alleged that it violates the "super DOMA" amendment of the state constitution (Art. XIII, Sec. 13). The amendment, adopted in the 2006 election, bans not only same-sex marriage, but also legal status for relationships that are "substantially similar" to marriage. In the run-up to the 2006 election, proponents of the super-DOMA amendment told the press that the proposed amendment allowed for limited domestic partnerships - including those the new law establishes. That fact did not deter petitioners. Now that the Court has denied their petition, their recourse involves filing a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court, where they will risk a trial of facts that will form a record for appeal.
11/04/09 Lamda Legal press release:
Because of today's ruling, Wisconsin's same-sex couples and their families who depend on domestic partnership protections can take care of each other in times of illness and crisis. Even with the discriminatory amendment excluding same-sex couples from marriage, the Wisconsin Constitution does not prevent enactment of laws that offer basic decency and security for couples.11/04/09 ACLU of Wisconsin press release:
“The Wisconsin Supreme Court did the right thing rejecting this premature and ill-defined challenge. If the petitioners want to deprive thousands of families of some very basic protections, they should not be allowed to short-circuit the legal process of proving their case to a trial judge,” said Larry Dupuis, Legal Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “We’re certain that if we end up having to deal with these arguments in a trial, we’ll be able to show how the limited protections offered by the domestic partnership registry in no way violate the marriage ban.”