Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Lawsuit Filed Against Wisconsin Bizarre Marriage Evasion Law

A lawsuit has been filed in Wisconsin by same-sex couples who want to get married. Wisconsin has a 2006 constitutional amendment that declares same-sex marriage is not valid or recognized in the state as well as any "legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals." The situation for same-sex couples is even more dire because the Badger state also has a "marriage evasion law" which criminalizes any attempt to evade the duly enacted marriage laws of the state. So, if a same-sex couple goes to a neighboring state like Minnesota to get married, not only is there new marriage not recognized by their home state (although it would be recognized by the federal government) and it is possible they could be prosecuted by state officials and face a $10,000 fine and up to 9 months in prison!

The Washington Blade reports:
Like other lawsuits filed throughout the country, the 29-page complaint filed by the groups in Wisconsin alleges the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates equal protection and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Although Wisconsin and this country have taken some steps to reduce discrimination against lesbians and gays, Wisconsin’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is a striking and continuing vestige of the long history of discrimination toward lesbians and gay men,” the complaint says.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, however, pledged in a statement to the Blade that he would the defend the marriage amendment.
“This constitutional amendment was approved by a large majority of Wisconsin residents,” Van Hollen said. “I believe the amendment is constitutional, and I will vigorously defend it.”
The Wisconsin litigation is among 40 pending lawsuits in 22 states throughout the country seeking marriage rights for gay couples.

Wow. There's as many as 40 lawsuits in 22 states seeking full marriage rights for same-sex couples now. These lawsuits will continue until the law treats same-sex couples equally to opposite-sex couples.

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