Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has asked a judge to allow his state to stop defending a new domestic partner registry that grants gay couples hospital visitation and other rights, because he said it violates the state constitution.
Democrats who controlled the Legislature in 2009 changed the law so that same-sex couples could sign up for domestic partnership registries with county clerks to secure some — but not all — of the rights afforded married couples.
Wisconsin Family Action sued last year in Dane County circuit court, arguing that the registries violated a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans gay marriage and any arrangement that is substantially similar.
Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has also refused to defend the suit, and said he agreed the new law violated the state constitution.
Former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat who proposed the registry, argued it was legal, and hired an outside attorney to defend the state.
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Gay rights group Fair Wisconsin is a party to the case and will continue to defend the registry if the judge dismisses the state.