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Wisconsin Family Connection
Week of October 11, 2010, – #856
Appling v. Doyle
1.26 million. That’s a really large number. Here are some comparisons for you1.26 million is about the size of the entire population of Dallas, Texas, the ninth-largest city in the United States. It’s about the number of abortions performed in the U.S. in 2005. 1.26 million is about the number of charities and private foundations registered with the IRS as of March of this year.
1.26 million is especially significant for me because it’s the number of votes cast for one-man, one-woman marriage in Wisconsin in November of 2006, just four years ago. Almost 60% of Wisconsin voters cast their ballots in favor of an amendment to Wisconsin’s state constitution that protects the definition of and the institution of marriage in Wisconsin. That’s quite a majority.
That vote represents over three years of grueling work in the State Legislature and throughout the state, because amending the constitution is an appropriately rigorous process.
Democratic process, thousands of years of tradition, the Will of the People and the rule of law, however, are not enough for some opponents of marriage in Wisconsin. When traditional marriage won in 2006, the leading advocates of same-sex marriage vowed to continue their fight to redefine marriage by chipping away at traditional marriage and the amendment.
Last year, Gov. Doyle and the state legislature took the first official whack at traditional marriage, the amendment, and the expressed will of the people with a statewide, same-sex-only domestic partnership registry enacted through the state budget. Doyle used the registry as political payback for the homosexual community, which had supported him generously over the years and helped him get re-elected in 2006.
Doyle’s registry created a new legal status for same-sex couples—a legally recognized domestic partnership—that is substantially similar to, in fact almost identical to, the legal status of marriage—in direct violation of the constitutional amendment. Persons applying for the domestic partnership registry are subject to the same limitations of kinship, exclusivity, age, etc., as marriage except for the requirement that this status, unlike marriage, is for persons of the same sex only.
Recognizing this assault on marriage, the constitution and the will of the people for what it was, I, and several other board members of Wisconsin Family Action, through our attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and First Freedoms Foundation, filed an original action petition with the State Supreme Court in July 2009, asking the court to declare the registry unconstitutional. The High Court refused to take our petition so we were forced to start down at the trial court level.
And that’s exactly what we did on August 18 this summer when we filed a brief in Dane County against the domestic partnership registry. The story of this lawsuit is just developing, though. Last week we learned that Fair Wisconsin—the leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender organization in the state, and the primary opponent of the marriage amendment—and five lesbian couples filed to intervene in our lawsuit.
If the judge in charge of the case, the Honorable Daniel R. Moeser, allows the same-sex couples and Fair Wisconsin to intervene, their attorneys will file briefs with the court in favor of the domestic partnership registry. They will have to convince the court that Gov. Doyle and his attorney will not provide adequate defense for Doyle’s pet project.
Last year, when we first challenged the registry, Attorney General J.V. Van Hollen refused to defend it because he believed it to be unconstitutional. So, Doyle hired his attorney-of-choice, Madison lawyer Lester Pines. Pines represented Bill McConkey in his failed attempt to have the amendment declared unconstitutional.
The powerful, wealthy Chicago-based Lambda Legal is representing Fair Wisconsin and the ever-present ACLU is representing the five same-sex couples. It’s an interesting alliance that underscores the foundational issues tying these groups together; and their utter disparity with the majority of Wisconsin voters.
Overriding the will of the people is serious business—and something can be done about it. Voting for candidates who respect the will of the people and the institution of marriage on November 2 would be a very good start!
For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”