Wisconsin

STATUS:

Some protections for couples, anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment 

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

State advocacy groups are working toward fairness for all of Wisconsin's families by overturning a constitutional amendment that prohibits relationship recognition for same-sex couples in the state.

In February 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Wisconsin filed a federal lawsuit, Wolf v. Walker, seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the state of Wisconsin. A trial in the case has been scheduled for August 25, 2014. Read more about marriage litigation in Wisconsin.

HISTORY:

In 2006, anti-gay forces in Wisconsin pushed through Referendum 1, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and prohibits same-sex couples from attaining any other form of legal family status. 

On June 29, 2009, Governor Jim Doyle signed a budget bill into law after it was approved by the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate. The budget bill included a domestic partnership allowance for same-sex couples. The domestic partnership law provides limited access to some of the protections that the freedom to marry affords. The limited domestic partnership law took effect on August 3, 2009.

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • Fair Wisconsin is Wisconsin's central statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization. 
  • The American Civil Liberties Union is a national legal organization working to bring civil rights to all Americans and is one of the organizations that has filed a federal lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry in Wisconsin. 
  • The ACLU of Wisconsin is a statewide legal organization working to bring civil rights to all Wisconsinites and is one of the organizations working on a federal lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry in Wisconsin. 
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

RECENT POLLING DATA:

Wisconsin is also seeing a shift on marriage perspectives. Whereas an anti-gay marriage amendment passed in 2006 by a 19-point margin, a June 2011 survey from Public Policy Polling found that 42 percent of the state supported the freedom to marry.

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES: 

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 9,179 same-sex couples are living in Wisconsin, representing 4.0 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Blog Posts Related to Wisconsin

Momentum Update: How marriage moved forward this week in purple and red states

It’s hard to keep up with the flurry of activity around marriage, particularly in more conservative states. Here’s what’s going on and what you may have missed.

Litigation Round-Up: The freedom to marry in the courts in VA, WI, NV, UT and OK

In the six months since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA, dozens of same-sex couples in states across the country have joined together to file lawsuits seeking the freedom to marry. Check out updates from 5 of the 22 states with pending litigation:

Guest Post: Without my two moms, I would not be the man I am today

Dan Pologe writes a moving essay about growing up with two mothers in Wisconsin. "It is true my upbringing might be different from the ‘norm,’ but the love I received and strong values that have helped to define who I am today was not," he writes.

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Resources Related to Wisconsin

Pew Poll Finds Growing Support for Freedom to Marry Among Evangelicals, Majority Support Among Youth

A comprehensive Pew poll found majority support for the freedom to marry among young people, college graduates and Catholics, with growing support among all other religious categories.

Wisconsin Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Wyoming.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

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