Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big whopping surprise: Wisconsin "Family" Action files legal challenge to domestic partnerships

You can probably already predict what the challenge (Appling v. Doyle) says, but if you want to read it, it's here. You can also read an Associated Press article about the challenge here.

Interestingly and not surprisingly, the main plaintiff, Julaine Appling of Wisconsin "Family" Action, said numerous times during and after her effort to pass a constitutional ban on civil unions and same-sex marriage that it had nothing to do with domestic partnerships. From "Experts: Passage Will Spark Court Battles" by Doug Erickson in the Wisconsin State Journal, Nov 9, 2006:
Gay-rights supporters and unmarried opposite-sex couples fear the amendment could jeopardize all types of domestic-partner benefits, even those offered by private companies.

They said the ban's passage could spur anti-gay activists to fight even small attempts at equality, such as the ability to visit partners in the emergency room.

Julaine Appling, executive director of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin and president of the Vote Yes for Marriage campaign, dismissed such talk. "I'm not sitting here plotting anything," she said Wednesday.

The amendment was designed to prevent same-sex marriage, not to affect domestic-partner benefits, she said. She expects opponents of the ban to fight it in court.

"They've become professionals at trying to change society through the courts, so what would make you think they'd go quietly into this good night?" Appling said. "They do not want to admit that the people have spoken."

Potential legal strategy Josh Freker, spokesman for the anti-amendment group Fair Wisconsin, predicted Wednesday that anti-gay groups might first attempt to overturn domestic-partner benefits offered by public employers.

From "Collateral Damage" by Judith Davidoff of The Capital Times, Feb. 25, 2005:
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, lead Senate sponsor of the proposed ban, said in a recent newspaper guest column that "liberal activists" were exaggerating the threat to domestic partner benefits.

He said, "The proposed constitutional amendment would not prohibit state or local governments or a private entity from setting up a legal construct to provide privileges or benefits such as health insurance benefits, pension benefits, joint tax return filing or hospital visitation to same-sex or unmarried couples."

Similarly, Julaine Appling, executive director of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin, the leading advocacy group promoting the same-sex marriage ban, said domestic partner benefits were not threatened.

She also said that no privately held company or public entity has enough authority to offer benefits that would render the relationship in question "similar to" a marriage.

"That's just an absurd argument," she said.

And from "Domestic Partner Puzzle" by Jason Stein of The Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 28, 2006:
Amendment supporter Julaine Appling said she's certain courts will uphold domestic partner benefits for couples like O'Donnell and Mache. Health insurance alone isn't similar to the dozens and even hundreds of benefits marriage can provide, said Appling, head of the Coalition for Traditional Marriage.

"I think all of that is a smoke screen that people are using to chip away at the amendment's real intent which is we don't want look-alike marriages and we don't want marriage redefined," said Appling, who sees traditional marriage as a way to better families and a better society.

You're right, Appling. The few benefits offered by domestic partnerships are nowhere near the dozens and even hundreds of legal benefits assocates with marriage. So why are you suing?

What a shock that a good, moral "Christian" like Appling would lie, lie, lie. Associating religion with your lack of integrity, Appling, is not a very good way to win converts to your faith or your cause.

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