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Wisconsin State Supreme Court Will Review Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Marriage

May 14, 2009

This is good news. 

James and I had been in touch with professor William McConkey that filed suit over the 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Wisconsin.  We had talked with him about becoming a part of his case as we felt very strongly about this matter, and the way it was presented to the electorate.  Not being entirely clear what financial obligation that would entail should we have proceeded, we decided against it.   But we are very pleased that this measure has advanced to the point that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will review the matter.  This is a most serious case, and not only for the issue of gay marriage or civil unions, but for the broader rationale of how questions are brought before the voting public for their consideration.

The wording of the amendment in 2006 was fashioned in such a manner that it clearly asks two separate questions.  This was not done by mistake.  It was fashioned by those who knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish by placing it on the ballot.  There was every desire to end once and for all in the State Of Wisconsin any attempt to provide civil rights, and legal equality for gay couples either through marriage or civil unions.

The problem is of course that there can not be such a cleverly crafted series of words in a state-wide referendum that seeks  to solve two separate issues with one question.  We have long contended that the over-reach on this matter was nothing short of mean-spirited, and utterly grotesque.  It is only proper that the Wisconsin State Supreme Court review and address what is clearly a poorly worded ballot question that violated the process of amending the State Constitution.  As a state we are better than to allow this to stand as it was presented to the voting public.

Late Thursday, the court announced it would take up a case thrown out of Dane County court last year.

In 2006, Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will look at a challenge to that vote. Namely, whether  the referendum illegally put two issues to voters at the same time: whether to ban gay marriage and whether to outlaw civil unions.

The case was brought to the courts by a UW-Oshkosh professor.

Last month, the  Court of Appeals asked the high court to take the case immediately because of its statewide significance.

One Comment
  1. May 15, 2009 11:58 AM

    Hopefully this case has been well-prepared and is competently presented.

    It certainly makes an excellent and very important point (at least to any layperson) regarding one proposed amendment addressing two separate and distinct issues impacting directly on human and civil rights. Read my column on this subject (published at the time of the election in a small regional newspaper).

    http://clydewinter.wordpress.com/2006/08/06/marriage-means-love-ye-one-another/

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