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Lawmakers may be setting up lawsuit by setting up same-sex partners register

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Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

State legislative leaders might be setting up a lawsuit by supporting Gov. Jim Doyle's plan to let same-sex partners register for benefits.

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The two Democratic chairmen of the Joint Finance Committee said last week they'll include the governor's plan in their version of the new state budget. And they expect it to pass.

For now, the Wisconsin Family Council is lobbying lawmakers to kill the measure.

The Council's Julaine Appling said a domestic partner registry is virtually equal to same-sex marriages and it would violate the 2006 constitutional gay marriage ban which her group helped to pass.

But a group called Freedom to Marry says Doyle's plan is unlike anything proposed in the country.

And director Evan Wolfson says Wisconsin should go for it, since history looks kindly on those who take those kinds of first steps.

Doyle's plan would let domestic partners register with counties. Experts say they would get about one-fifth the benefits reserved for married couples.

The governor says it's a matter of fairness.

He says long-time partners should not be locked out of things like end of life decisions. It would also include things like property transfers.

But it would not let same-sex couples adopt children together or file joint tax returns.

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