Gay marriage ruling could affect laws, discussion in Wis.

ACLU: Benefits ruling strengthens arguments for Wisconsin's registry

Published On: Jun 26 2013 10:54:23 AM CDT   Updated On: Jun 26 2013 07:46:12 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. -

Civil liberties advocates said a U.S. Supreme Court decision granting benefits to same-sex couples could bolster arguments supporting Wisconsin's domestic partner registry.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court says the ruling violates Wisconsin's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday legally-married gay Americans are eligible for federal tax, health and pension benefits. It also let stand a lower court finding that California's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Larry Dupuis is an attorney for the Wisconsin American Civil Liberties Union. He said the California decision is tailored to that state but the benefits ruling strengthens arguments for Wisconsin's registry.

Wisconsin still bans gay marriage, but many supporters believe it’s just a matter of time before that changes.

“I think that opinion has changed dramatically in the seven years since voters of Wisconsin have voted, and I do hope that our state Legislature will see that and understand it and move forward to advance equality in our state,” said U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

Congressman Mark Pocan, D-Wis., said this is a victory for same-sex couples in Wisconsin.

“We have a lot of catching up to do in Wisconsin, but I would encourage every committed, married same-sex couple in Wisconsin to just hold tight, it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when their relationship will be fully recognized," said Pocan.

Pocan is the nation’s only congressman in a same-sex marriage.

Republicans said the rulings reaffirmed states' ability to set gay marriage policy as they wish.

State Sen. Glenn Grotham, R-West Bend, weighed in on Live at Five and said he doesn’t think any laws in Wisconsin will be changing anytime soon.

“I would be shocked if we passed anything in the next few years trying to undue our marriage amendment,” said Grotham. “That is not going to happen because I think we’re still a more conservative people in both the Assembly and Senate.”

“Despite the fact that 85 percent of Congress, a majority of both Republicans and Democrats and a Democratic President enacted DOMA. That we can’t leave it to the democratic process for a new president and congress to decide whether to appeal it,” said Ken Klukowski, of the Family Research Council.

Opponents of same-sex marriage say the high court went too far and they’re vowing to continue to fight.