Gay couples trickled into county clerk’s offices in Wisconsin on Monday for their first chance to sign up for the state’s new domestic partnership registry.
Wisconsin is the first mid-western state to pass such a law through legislation, with governor Jim Doyle signing the bill in June. Iowa allowed gay marriage earlier this year through a court ruling.
However, it is expected that the law will give gay couples fewer than 50 of the 200 legal rights available to straight married couples. Some of the rights still not afforded to same-sex couples via the domestic partnership registry include the ability to file taxes jointly and federal benefits of marriage, including Social Security and veterans benefits. Same-sex partnerships in Wisconsin also are not a mandate for health care coverage from private employers.