Sides voice opinions as Supreme Court reviews domestic partnersh - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Sides voice opinions as Supreme Court reviews domestic partnership benefits


Eau Claire (WQOW) - We're hearing from both sides as the Wisconsin Supreme Court reviews the domestic partnership law.

The court heard arguments Wednesday, in a lawsuit filed by a conservative group, Wisconsin Family Action.  

UW-Eau Claire Women's & LGBTQ Resource Center Coordinator, Christopher Jorgenson, says, "I think the more ground you make politically the more some groups try so hard to take back what you've fought so hard to get."

Wisconsin Family Action President, Julaine Appling, says, "What we are asking for is that the entire chapter be ruled unconstitutional."

In 2009 the state's domestic partner registry came to be. One group says it mimics marriage, while another says it's not even close.

Jorgenson says, "It's tiring that groups try and consistently try and place themselves on the wrong side of history.  Because if there's one thing for certain they will be on the wrong side of history because their idea of family does not represent what family has come to be known, not only in the state of Wisconsin but in this country."

Appling says, "I am not concerned about being on the right side of history. There isn't a right side of history; there is a right side of truth. And the truth is, marriage is what it is, a man and a woman."

Wisconsin Family Action filed the suit and is working to wipe out the registry as a whole. They say it goes against the state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

"It is a disservice to the people of our state to not actively and aggressively protect that institution," explains Appling.  

Jorgenson says, "If even polled now, the state of Wisconsin would answer much differently than it did in 2006." 

The registry gives same-sex couples some of the same legal rights a husband and wife have. Here's one example: same-sex couples are eligible for medical leave if their partner has a serious health condition.

"The idea that we even have to try and protect domestic partnership versus marriage is frustrating. Because all it does is have a group of people, who are already marginalizes, try and fight for the table scraps we have been given historically… Because separate, but not equal, does not work."

The state's high court is not expected to make a decision until next summer.  Two years ago the Wisconsin Family Action group took its argument before a Dane County circuit judge. That judge ruled the registry does not violate the state's constitution.

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