UPDATE: Supreme Court hears case about partnership vs. marriage - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Attorneys debate domestic partnership benefits before WI Supreme Court


UPDATE (WKOW) -- The state's domestic partner registry is now under review by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Attorneys on both sides got about 30 minutes to make their case to the justices Wednesday. We probably won't know which way they vote until next year so those with stakes in the decision they say they'll be waiting with bated breath.

Julaine Appling and Wisconsin Family Action filed the lawsuit in 2010. "I'm cautiously optimistic that the rule of law will prevail," Appling tells 27 News.

The group's attorney, Austin Nimocks argues the partnership is too similar to marriage and gay marriage was banned in Wisconsin in 2006. "As to every other legal status in Wisconsin law, there is no other that requires sex specificity. Marriage and domestic partnership stand alone," he told the court. Nimocks says requirements on age, sex and blood relationship also make the law too similar to a married status.

Christopher Clark represented advocacy group Fair Wisconsin and focused on differences between the two statuses and the benefits that would disappear. "There are enormous ramifications," Clark told the justices.

Fair Wisconsin points to Crystal Hyslop and Janice Czyscon as one of the families that will be affected. They were the first couple to sign up under the domestic partnership law. They say as they grow older, if one of them gets sick, these legal rights will be key.

"To lose any of the benefits where we have access to each other in these situations would be just... it would kill me," Czyscon says.

Now both sides have months to wait as the justices are expected to come to a decision by next summer. 


MADISON (WKOW) -- Conservative attorneys tried to persuade justices to wipe out the state's domestic partner registry during oral arguments before the Wisconsin Supreme Court today.

The conservative group Wisconsin Family Action filed a lawsuit in 2010, claiming the registry violates the state's 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage or anything substantially similar.

Austin Nimocks, an attorney for Wisconsin Family Action, told justices during Wednesday's oral arguments the qualifications to get married and get on the registry are substantially similar.

Christopher Clark, an attorney for Fair Wisconsin, the state's largest gay rights group, argued the registry doesn't come close to marriage, claiming marriage is a civil contract that comes with obligations the registry doesn't require.

The registry provides several legal rights to same-sex couples.

27 News reporter Danielle Lama will have live reports on today's oral arguments before the state high court in 27 News at 5 and 6.


MADISON (WKOW) -- On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether Wisconsin's domestic partner registry is unconstitutional.

The registry grants same-sex couples a host of legal rights, though not as many as married heterosexual couples. In 2010, the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action filed a lawsuit claiming the registry violates a 2006 state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage or anything substantially similar.

The registry was upheld by a state appeals court last year.

Danielle Lama will be covering today's arguments and have live reports from the Capitol on 27 News and 5 & 6.

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