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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wisconsin's Gov. Doyle asks court to declare domestic partner registry constitutional

Tamara Packard, left, and Renee Herber
leave the Dane County Clerk’s Office
after signing up for the state’s new
domestic partner registry in Madison.

An attorney for Gov. Jim Doyle has filed a motion asking that the domestic partner registry be declared constitutional.
The motion, filed Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court, aims to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the registry's opponents. That challenge, filed earlier this year by a social conservative group, argues the registry is a violation of the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
The group, Wisconsin Family Action, argues the registry creates a legal status substantially similar to that of marriage.
Doyle proposed the registry as a way to grant same-sex couples more legal rights, such as the right to visit each other in hospitals, make end-of-life decisions and inherit each other's property.
The Democratic-controlled Legislature approved the registry and it went into effect in August 2009. By the end of the year 1,329 couples had signed up.
The same-sex marriage ban, supported by the same group bringing this lawsuit, was added to the constitution by voters in 2006.
Doyle's attorney, Lester Pines, said his recent motion highlights the difference between marriage and domestic partnerships.


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