Some protections for couples, anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment; a federal judge has ruled that the state's discriminatory amendment is unconstitutional.


On June 6, 2014, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb overturned Wisconsin's discriminatory state ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said he will appeal the decision. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Wisconsin filed the federal lawsuit, Wolf v. Walker, seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the state of Wisconsin in February 2014. Read more about marriage litigation in Wisconsin.

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 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.


  • 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.


Wisconsin is seeing a shift on marriage perspectives. Whereas an anti-gay marriage amendment passed in 2006 by a 19-point margin, recent polling finds that 51% of the state supports the freedom to marry now. (Wisconsin Gazette, April 2014)


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.

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