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Marriage Equality Updates: Wisconsin

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Wisconsin MapWe’re running down some of the updates in the aftermath of the shocking Supreme Court decision to turn down all the pending marriage equality cases.

Next, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin was also one of the states waiting on a Supreme Court decision. The state’s Attorney General has conceded defeat, allowing counties to begin to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Joe.My.God reports:

Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general is conceding the fight to preserve the state’s gay marriage ban is over… Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had filed Wisconsin’s appeal in hopes of preserving a 2006 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. His spokeswoman issued a statement Monday saying the Department of Justice made every attempt to defend the state constitution but acknowledged gay marriage is now legal.

And the weddings hev begin. The Chicago Tribune reports:

In Wisconsin, many county clerks began offering same-sex marriage services immediately, even before it was legally mandated by the district court. Because the lower Wisconsin courts already held the marriage ban unconstitutional, “it is now our obligation to comply with those court decisions,” according to a statement released by Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Julaine Appling, head of Wisconsin Family Action, is desperately hoping it’s not really over.

Joe.My.God reports:

“The high court’s denial of our Wisconsin case and these other cases is profoundly disappointing. However, at some point the US Supreme Court will take a case on this issue. Wisconsin’s marriage amendment is on hold, but should the Court ultimately rule that the US Constitution does give the states the right to determine for themselves what marriage is, our amendment will be reinstated.”

Darlin’, it’s all over but the marryin’.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Lesbian Couple Granted Adoption Rights, Marriage Recognition

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Wisconsin MapIn yet another ruling, a lesbian couple in Madison, Wisconsin has been granted the right to adopt each other’s biological children and have their marriage recognized by the state.

The Advocate reports:

The Madison-based couple, Teresa and Kat Riley, who were registered as domestic partners in Wisconsin, then traveled to Iowa last year, where they were legally married. Together, they have two young children, one of whom was birthed by Teresa and the other by Kat. Though legal guardians of each other’s biological child, both mothers wanted full parental rights, which could only be optioned through legal adoption. But because Wisconsin does not recognize same-sex marriage, the couple had to petition the court for this nearly unprecedented right.

It really does feel like it’s only a matter of time now, doesn’t it? And a very short amount of time, at that.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

US Supreme Court Will Look at All 7 Pending Marriage Equality Cases

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

US Supreme Court bwThe US Supreme Court has asked the petitions be ready for all seven marriage quality cases that have reached the court.

Scotus Blog reports:

Matching the speed of lawyers and lower courts in handling the same-sex marriage controversy, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set the stage for its first look at all of the pending cases, when the Justices assemble on September 29 for a private Conference. Seven petitions — three from Virginia, and one each from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin — will be submitted to the Justices at that session. There is, of course, no certainty that they will act on any or all of them at that point, but the option is there. With all sides agreeing that the time to rule is now, it would be a surprise if the Court opted to bypass the issue altogether in its new Term… Together, the petitions raise two constitutional questions: do states have power to refuse to allow same-sex couples to marry, and do states have power to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states? In all of the federal appeals courts’ decisions being challenged in these cases, state marriage bans of one or both of those kinds were struck down under the federal Constitution, either under equal protection or due process guarantees, or both.

Another set of cases before the Sixth Circuit could be decided soon.

Towleroad.com reports:

…the Supreme Court could have more cases headed its way very soon. Many are focsued on 4 pending cases before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a court some legal analysts suspect is more likely than others to uphold marriage bans: “If that happens, it’s a virtual certainty that the Supreme Court would step in and resolve the disagreement.”

The cases awaiting Supreme Court consideration on 9/29 are from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Indiana, Wisconsin Marriage Equality Decision Strikes Down Bans

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Seventh CircuitThree judges at the Seventh Circuit struck down Indiana and Wisconsin bans in a striking pro marriage equality decision, calling the bans “totally implausible”.

Equality on Trial reports:

In an opinion by Judge Richard Posner, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in Wolf v. Walker and Baskin v. Bogan that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional. Posner writes: “To return to where we started in this opinion, more than unsupported conjecture that same-sex marriage will harm heterosexual marriage or children or any other valid and important interest of a state is necessary to justify discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As we have been at pains to explain, the grounds advanced by Indiana and Wisconsin for their discriminatory policies are not only conjectural; they are totally implausible.”

The decision also laid into the defense’s attempts to link the bans to “tradition”.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

There are “bad traditions that are historical realities such as cannibalism, foot-binding, and suttee, and traditions that … are neither good nor bad – such as trick-or-treating on Halloween,” the ruling says. “Tradition per se therefore cannot be a lawful ground for discrimination – regardless of the age of the tradition.” It also laid into another argument from the states that gays should not be allowed to marry because, on their own, they can’t procreate, saying that rationale “is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.”

And finally, the ruling took on the argument that these bans are in place to protect children.

The Washington Blade reports:

“The argument that the states press hardest in defense of their prohibition of same-sex marriage is that the only reason government encourages marriage is to induce heterosexuals to marry so that there will be fewer ‘accidental births,’ which when they occur outside of marriage often lead to abandonment of the child to the mother (unaided by the father) or to foster care,” Posner writes. “Overlooked by this argument is that many of those abandoned children are adopted by homosexual couples, and those children would be better off both emotionally and economically if their adoptive parents were married… “Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry,” Posner continues. “Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure.”

Wisconsin’s attorney general has already said he will appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Wisconsin’s attorney general says he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a federal appellate ruling striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s spokeswoman, Dana Brueck, said in an email to The Associated Press that Van Hollen has always believed the case will be decided in the that court.

And in Indiana, the Atty. Gen. plants asked the US Supreme Court for a stay.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Thursday that it seems clear the issue will have to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Zoeller says his office will seek a stay while it appeals the decision. Zoeller says he hopes the nation’s highest court will decide the issue “sooner rather than later.”

The Indiana family Institute is not happy about the decision.

Joe.My.God reports:

Today the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sent a shocking and destructive message to Indiana lawmakers and all Hoosier citizens: Moms and Dads are optional. The 40 page decision departs from the constitutional role of the judiciary to interpret the law and instead the Court assumes a moral superiority over the people of Indiana and our elected leaders. The Court is correct that all people are capable of loving children, but it fails to realize that all the love in the world can’t turn a mother into a father or a father into a mother. Same-sex ‘marriage’ is at odds with the ideal. It harms society by encouraging more motherless and fatherless homes, when we should have fewer.

Funny how they’re trying some of the same arguments that the court just rejected.

There is no stay, but we’ll have to wait at least 21 days for the decision to take effect, more than enough time for the US Supreme Court to stay the decision.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

Seven Great Moments From Tuesday’s Indiana / Wisconsin Marriage Equality Hearing

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Judge Rochard Posner

Sean Mandell has collected seven great moments from Judge Posner’s questioning in the Wisconsin and Indiana cases this week.

Towleroad.com reports:

Yesterday, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard two cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. There was a lot of speculation as to who would be on the three judge panel that would hear the case. Not long before the hearing began, we found out: Judges Ann Claire Williams, David Hamilton and Richard Posner. Williams and Hamilton were Clinton and Obama nominees respectively and were widely thought to be favorable to pro-equality arguments. Judge Posner, a Reagan nominee, was something of a wild-card. Though as our own Ari Ezra Waldman pointed out in his pre-hearing analysis, Judge Posner does not always “toe a socially conservative line,” having “been sympathetic to the pro-choice movement.” However, few could have imagined how incredible Judge Posner’s performance during the hearing would be. And while the 7th Circuit still has to deliver its decision, it is safe to say that Judge Posner has won his way into many a gay’s heart.

See the full list here, and enjoy!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Seventh Circuit Hears Indiana, Wisconsin Marriage Equality Cases

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Although the Seventh Circuit is comprised of seven Republicans and three Democrats, the three-judge panel randomly chosen to hear the Indiana and Wisconsin marriage equality cases leans Democrat.

Think Progress reports:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a very conservative court. Seven of its ten active judges are Republicans, and these Republicans include some committed allies of the conservative Federalist Society. Nevertheless, anti-gay conservatives are likely to have little to celebrate once the Seventh Circuit hands down its closely watched decision in a pair of marriage equality cases the court will hear Tuesday. The Seventh Circuit just announced the three-judge panel who will hear this case — Judges Richard Posner, Anne Claire Williams and David Hamilton — and that appears to be very good news for Team Equality.

Judge Posner is the sole Republican on the panel — he’s served on the Court since President Reagan appointed him in 1981 — but he is a highly idiosyncratic judge who has grown increasingly critical of his fellow partisans in recent years. In a 2012 interview, for example, Posner complained that “there’s been a real deterioration in conservative thinking. And that has to lead people to re-examine and modify their thinking.” He added that he has personally “become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy.”

The three judges appeared very skeptical of state claims defending the bans.

The Washington Blade reports:

Based on the skepticism these judges expressed regarding marriage bans in these states, the panel seems headed toward deciding 3-0 in favor of marriage equality. Posner was most aggressive in the questioning of attorneys defending bans on same-sex marriage. The judge asked Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher repeatedly why the state would want children with same-sex parents to be worse off than children with opposite-sex parents, then grew frustrated when the attorney could not provide a satisfactory answer.

When the attorney mentioned that opposite-sex marriage enables procreation because a “fleeting moment of passion leads to the creation of children,” Posner asked why sterile opposite-sex couples should be allowed to wed. Posner was similarly frustrated with Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson when the lawyer couldn’t answer why allowing same-sex couples to wed might have a negative impact other than by observing the institution of no-fault divorce led to an increase in the dissolution of marriages.

ABC News profiles some of the plaintiffs in Indiana:

Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney didn’t plan to get married until they could tie the knot in Indiana. Cancer changed that. The two women, inseparable since they met in 2000, were happy together as they moved around the country, finding acceptance in such places as St. Louis, Las Vegas and Chicago. But Quasney’s 2009 diagnosis with ovarian cancer sent the couple in 2011 to her hometown of Munster, Indiana, so their daughters, now 3 and 1, could grow up near Quasney’s family. In Indiana, people weren’t as accepting. They were told they couldn’t obtain a family membership from a gym and when they took one of their daughters to a hospital for a blood test, staff members questioned who Quasney was.

And in Wisconsin:

Garth Wangemann had a new health care power of attorney form drawn up before undergoing surgery for lung cancer in 2011. He and his partner, Roy Badger, had older forms, but Wangemann feared they might be out of date. When Wangemann developed complications that required doctors to put him in a medically induced coma for more than a month, Badger decided to keep him on life support. Wangemann’s father wanted him removed and spoke to an attorney about trying to override Badger’s power of attorney. The issue became moot when Wangemann woke up.

In Indiana, Tippecanoe County Clerk Crista Coffey says she is ready for the court’s ruling, whatever it is.

JC Online reports:

As a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing approaches Tuesday in the challenge of Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey said her office is prepared if the federal court rules Indiana’s law is unconstitutional. “Whatever the law is, we’ll follow it,” Coffey said Monday morning. Tippecanoe County issued 33 marriage licenses to same-sex couples on June 26 and 27, two of the three dates when same-sex marriage was legal in Indiana. That compares to 32 traditional marriage licenses issued that same week in Tippecanoe County.

Joe.My.God has quotes from the state cases that got us here:


Joe.My.God has the audio of the hearings.

Now it’s all over but the waiting.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

Indiana, Wisconsin Marriage Equality Hearing Tomorrow

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Seventh CircuitTwo more states, Indiana and Wisconsin, will go before an appeals court this week.

WLFI reports:

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the Indiana gay marriage case in a Chicago courtroom Tuesday morning beginning at 10:30 Lafayette time. There will be 20 minutes set aside for attorneys for same sex couples and another 20 minutes for the state. Solicitor General Thomas Fisher will make those arguments. Then, both sides in a Wisconsin case will get the same opportunity. A three judge panel that will be drawn from the 10 judges in the 7th Circuit will decide the case. Seven of them were appointed by Republican Presidents, Three by Democrats.

Ten states are urging the judges to uphold the bans.

Chicago pride reports:

Ten states have joined in filing an amicus brief in support of gay marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana. The states are urging the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to uphold restrictive marriage bans in two challenges to be heard before the court on Tuesday… States involved in the brief include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.

The Wisconsin plaintiffs got a send-off in Madison.

WBAY reports:

Two gay couples suing for the right to marry are off to Chicago to listen to oral arguments before a federal appeals court. Carol Schumacher and Virginia Wolf and Judi Trampf and Katy Heyning boarded a bus Monday morning after a send-off at the OutReach LGBT Center in Madison. About two dozen people showed up to see them off.

So did the Indiana plaintiffs, in Indianapolis.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Gay couples heading to Chicago to challenge Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban told supporters Monday that they believe they are on the right side of history. Nearly 100 supporters at a rally sponsored by Hoosiers Unite for Marriage gathered at the City Market in downtown Indianapolis to wave off the four couples as they left to attend legal arguments before a federal appeals court on Tuesday. The couples planned to attend other rallies in support of same-sex-marriage along the way in Lafayette, Munster and Chicago and said they hoped supporters and plaintiffs would join their convoy en route.

All eyes are on the Seventh Circuit tomorrow.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Wisconsin Domestic Partner Registry Upheld By State Supreme Court

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Wisconsin MapThe Wisconsin Domestic Partner Registry was upheld as constitutional by the state Supreme Court yesterday.

Gay Star News reports:

Same-sex couples still can’t get married in Wisconsin but they can continue to register to have some of the rights heterosexual married couples automatically have. The state’s supreme court ruled Thursday (31 July) that a 2009 that established a registry for same-sex couples in 2009 does not violate the state’s ban on gay marriage. The registry grants same-sex couples such things as insurance benefits under their partner’s plan, the right to inherit assets upon the death of their partner as well as hospital visitation and medical leave to care for their partner.

Funny how AG Van Hollen, who claimed that “The most important duty of Wisconsin’s Attorney General is to defend our state laws and Constitution” in defending the state’s ban on marriage equality, had no interest in defending this other state law. Hypocritical much?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Marriage Equality Poll Shows 56% Support

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

titleA new Wisconsin marriage equality poll shows majority support.

Fox11 reports:

The latest Marquette University Law School poll shows a majority of public support repealing Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban. The latest poll released Wednesday shows 56 percent of voters support repealing the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriages. The poll of 804 registered voters was done between July 17 and Sunday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Wisconsin’s marriage equality case is awaiting a date at the Seventh Circuit court of appeals.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wisconsin.

Indiana and Wisconsin Marriage Equality Cases Combined, Fast Tracked in Seventh Circuit

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Seventh CircuitTwo marriage equality cases have been combined and expedited by a US appeals court.

The Journal-Sentinel reports:

A federal appeals court put Wisconsin’s fight over gay marriage on a fast track Friday and combined the case with one from Indiana. Expediting the case will mean the issue could be decided by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago before the Nov. 4 election for governor… [Wisconsin] Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen appealed Crabb’s ruling Thursday, and the couples who brought the case immediately asked that the case be consolidated with a similar one from Indiana that the appeals court recently agreed to hear on an expedited basis. Full briefing is due in that case by Aug. 4. Such a short briefing schedule — less than a month — is rare in federal court. The panel that sped up the case consists of Judges Richard Posner, Ann Claire Williams and David Hamilton. Posner and Williams were appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and Hamilton was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

So it looks like we may have a ruling in the Seventh Circuit (Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) before the end of the year.

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