Monday, August 24, 2009

Wisconsin attorney general refuses to defend domestic partnerships

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, in an apparent attempt to polish his socially conservative credentials for a possible gubernatorial bid, has stated that he will not defend Wisconsin's domestic partnership law against a challenge by Wisconsin "Family" Action.

The attorney general says the domestic partnership law is clearly unconstitutional in light of the fact that Wisconsin's constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman and forbids any legal status to be created that is similar to marriage. However, the non-partisan Legislative Council, a governmental office that provides legal and other research services to the legislature, found that domestic partnerships are in line with the constitution. It found that domestic partnerships are not substantially similar to marriage because they only provide a quarter of the state benefits of marriage and none of the federal benefits.

Mark Pocan, a Madison representative who helped get domestic partnerships written into this year's state budget, has a few choice words to say about Van Hollen's decision.

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