MADISON, Wis. -

A state appeals court is expected to rule on whether Wisconsin's domestic partnership registry violates the state constitution's ban on gay marriage.

The registry was created under a 2009 law. It grants same-sex couples a host of legal rights such as the rights to visit each other in hospitals and make end-of-life decisions.

The conservative group Wisconsin Family Action has challenged the registry, saying it violates the Wisconsin Constitution's ban on gay marriage. A Madison judge ruled last year the registry was constitutional.

Wisconsin Family Action appealed and the 4th District Court of Appeals sent the case directly to the state Supreme Court, but the high court refused to hear it and kicked it back to the appellate court.

The court is scheduled to release its opinion Thursday morning.