Domestic Partnerships &
Same-Sex Marriages (SSMs) in Wisconsin
2006 until now:
Bans added to state
Positive ruling in federal District Court.
Same-sex marriages available briefly.
Case appealed to 7th U.S. Court of Appeals.
Timeline of the struggle to attain marriage equality in Wisconsin:
- 2006: Wisconsin voters amended the state constitution, by passing Referendum 1, with
a vote of
59% to 41%. This banned both civil unions and marriages by same-sex couples.
- 2009: Governor Jim Doyle (D) sponsored a bill to create a system of Domestic Partnerships in the state that would give registered same-sex couples a few of the benefits and protections given automatically to all married couples.
- 2010: The constitutionality of Referendum 1 was challenged in state court, but was upheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
- 2011: An attempt by a conservative group, Wisconsin Family Action, to have domestic partnerships declared unconstitutional failed. A poll in MAY shows that only 42% of Wisconsin voters favor same-sex marriages; 46% were opposed; 12% uncertain.
- 2014-FEB: The lawsuit Wolf v. Walker was filed in a federal District Court to seek marriage equality in Wisconsin.
- 2014-JUN-06: U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb issued a ruling finding that Referendum 1 is unconstitutional because it violates the due process and equal protection clauses in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Judge Crabb did not immediately stay her ruling. As a result, about 550 same-sex couples were able to obtain marriage licenses and be married.
- 2014-JUN-13: Judge Crabb did stay her ruling after having received briefs from the plaintiffs and defendants. The Attorney General appealed the case to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The status of the marriages made during the week between the ruling and stay is uncertain. Further developments may cause these newly married couples to be forcibly divorced against their will.
- 2014-AUG-26: A randomly selected panel of three judges of the 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals heard an appeal to overturn Wisconsin's ban of marriages by same-sex couples. They also head an appeal of a consolidated set of three lawsuits challenging Indiana's similar marriage ban. From the pointed questions asked by the judges, the Attorneys General may have failed to make their case against marriage equality.
- More developments are inevitable.
Topic covered in this section:
- Part 1: 2006 to 2011: Bans added to state
legalized. Poll about SSMs among voters.
- Part 2: 2013-AUG to 2014-JUN: Illinois Governor Quinn urged adoption of SSMs.
Lawsuit Wolf v. Walker launched in federal District Court. Results of a poll of voters.
- Part 3: 2014-JUN: Court ruled SSM ban unconstitutional. Lack of consensus about SSM legality. Confusion reigns.
- Part 4: 2014-JUN:
Webmaster's comments. State begins to register SSMs. Confusion continues.
- Part 5: 2014-JUN: More webmaster's comments. District Court Judge Crabb issues stay. Attorney General plans appeal.
- Part 6: 2014-JUN: Reactions by religious and social conservatives.
- Part 7: 2014-JUL/AUG: Attorney General appeals case to 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Court holds hearing.
First posted: 2014-JUN-12
Latest update: 2014-JUN-16
Author: B.A. Robinson