Main | Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wisconsin AG Refuses To Defend State's New Domestic Partners Law

Saying that legislators violated the will of the voters, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is refusing to defend his state's new domestic partner's law against a lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Family Council.
"When the people have spoken by amending our Constitution, I will abide by their command," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who believes the law is unconstitutional. "When policy makers have ignored their words, I will not." The law, which took effect Aug. 3, allows gay and lesbian partners to receive dozens of the same legal protections as married spouses. So far, 413 couples have been added to the state registry and more have applied. The conservative Wisconsin Family Council asked the state Supreme Court last month to invalidate the law. The group argued that it conflicts with a 2006 constitutional amendment approved by voters that banned gay marriage and any "substantially similar" relationships. Wisconsin was the first state to grant domestic partnerships to gay couples despite having the constitutional ban. It was also the first Midwestern state to give gay couples some legal protections legislatively. Van Hollen, a Republican, said the domestic partnerships as defined by the law are "substantially similar" to marriage. He accused the Democratic-controlled Legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle of ignoring the will of the people.
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle blasted Van Hollen's move, as the state will now be forced to hire an outside firm to the defend the new law.

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