Wisconsin

STATUS:

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

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

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.

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 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)

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

Wave of appellate arguments continues in August at 6th Circuit and 7th Circuit

Next month, same-sex couples in six different states will get their day in court at the federal appellate level when the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and the 7th Circuit hold oral arguments in a wide range of legal cases seeking the freedom to marry or respect for marriages between same-sex couples legally performed in other states.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Marriage Ban

A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled today in favor the freedom to marry and against the state’s marriage ban.

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.

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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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