HRC Blog

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds State Domestic Partner Registry

Today the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the state's domestic partnership registry. According to the court’s ruling, the law does not violate the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and substantially similar legal statuses.

In the ruling Justice N. Patrick Crooks  wrote, “We see no evidence that voters who approved the Amendment saw it as permitting those rights to be granted only in the kind of scheme Plaintiffs now suggest — that is, in cohabiting domestic relationships that bear no resemblance at all to marriage." 

The state’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and comprehensive relationship recognition such as civil unions was approved by voters in 2006.  Three years later, the legislature passed a law creating a  domestic partnerships registry. The domestic partnership registry only provides a few benefits associated with marriage, such as hospital visitation and inheritance. According to The Bilerico Project, “The rights afforded to domestic partners in Wisconsin are but a fraction of the more than 200 protections granted to married opposite-sex couples under state law.”

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb ruled against Wisconsin’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. A stay was put into effect less than a week later. The Unites States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will hear oral arguments in the case on August 26. 

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