Gay rights advocates intervene in challenge over WI domestic partnerships

WI Domestic PartnersThe domestic partnership benefits of hundreds of Wisconsin gay couples could be overturned in what’s becoming a growing legal battle.

Currently, gay couples in Wisconsin can register for domestic partnerships rights, enacted through legislation that took effect August 3. Since then, about 1,000 couples have applied, according to gay rights advocacy group Fair Wisconsin. Now, those domestic partnerships are in jeopardy.

Family advocacy group Wisconsin Family Action has filed a lawsuit to overturn domestic partnerships, calling them unconstitutional. In 2006, the voters passed an amendment barring gay marriage or anything substantially similar to gay marriage.

Gay rights advocates Lambda Legal filed their own legal challenge on behalf of Fair Wisconsin on Tuesday. They argue the voters may have rejected gay marriage, but they did not reject gay rights.

Fair Wisconsin executive director Katie Belanger says the group is intervening “so that we can protect the interests of our members.”

The American Civil Liberties Union also filed a motion before the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday on behalf of five same-sex couples asking that the couples be allowed to participate in the challenge that will determine the domestic partner law’s future.

Anti-gay activists have asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to strike down the domestic partner law as inconsistent with the marriage amendment.

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