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Wisconsin

AG wouldn’t defend partner registry, but will defend same-sex marriage ban

'The most important duty of Wisconsin’s Attorney General is to defend our state laws'
Thursday, July 31, 2014
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MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he stands by his decision not to defend Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R-Wis.)

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R-Wis.)

The Wisconsin Supreme Court said Thursday that the registry giving limited benefits to same-sex couples does not violate the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Van Hollen says that despite the court’s unanimous decision, he still believes the registry is unconstitutional.

The gay rights organization, Fair Wisconsin, intervened and successfully defended the law against a challenge by Julaine Appling, the head of the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action.

Meanwhile, Van Hollen continues to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, despite a federal court ruling — and more than a dozen others like it — that the ban is unconstitutional.

In a letter to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last month, Van Hollen wrote, “The most important duty of Wisconsin’s Attorney General is to defend our state laws and Constitution.”

The domestic partner registry was enacted by the state legislature in 2009 and signed by then-governor Jim Doyle. Since then, about 2,300 couples have signed up to be on the registry.

Last month, more than 500 same-sex couples in Wisconsin married after the state’s same-sex marriage ban was struck down. The ruling was put on hold a week later.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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