State Supreme Court defers on constitutionality of domestic partner registryWisconsin News
-- The Wisconsin State Supreme Court says it will not decide whether Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry is constitutional, until an appeals court makes a recommendation first.
MADISON - The Wisconsin State Supreme Court says it will not decide whether Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry is constitutional, until an appeals court makes a recommendation first.
The three-year-old registry gives same-sex couples about one-fifth of the legal benefits of married couples. The Fourth District Appellate Court refused to consider a challenge to the registry two months ago. It said the Supreme Court should be the one to decide what it called a “novel constitutional issue with statewide significance.” The justices kicked the matter back down to the appellate court yesterday, but they did not say why.
Former Governor Jim Doyle and other Democrats created the domestic partner registry in 2009, calling it a matter of fairness. Among other things, it gives same-sex couples the rights to inherit each other’s property, visit each other in hospitals, and make end-of-life decisions. The Wisconsin Family Action group has challenged the registry since its inception, saying it violates the 2006 constitutional amendment against gay marriage and civil unions. The group also says the registry creates a legal status for unmarried people that’s similar to marriage. Dane County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser upheld the domestic partner set-up last year.