MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to hear arguments this week on whether the state’s domestic partner registry is unconstitutional.The registry grants same-sex couples a host of legal rights.
Members of the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action filed a lawsuit in 2010 alleging the registry violates a 2006 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage or anything “substantially similar.”
A state appeals court upheld the registry last year, noting married couples enjoy a number of rights registrants don’t.
“Regardless of the precise meaning of the term ‘substantially similar,’ the rights and obligations of marriage are not substantially similar to the rights and obligations of domestic partnerships,” the appeals court ruled.
In June 2009, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed the domestic partnership registry into law, granting limited legal protections to same-sex couples, including hospital visitation and the ability to take a family medical leave to care for a sick or injured partner.
The court is expected to hear oral arguments on Wednesday afternoon.