ACLU Asks For Immediate Suspension Of Gay Marriage Ban

Attorney Asks For Relief From Ban As Lawsuit Challenging It Proceeds

The ACLU is challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Photo: Joe Gratz (CC-BY-SA)

The American Civil Liberties Union asked U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Thursday to suspend a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage while the group’s lawsuit challenging the law proceeds.

ACLU attorney Larry Dupuis said that one of the gay couples challenging the marriage ban will be giving birth to a child in April. He said that makes it more urgent to suspend the law, because the parent who isn’t giving birth won’t be legally recognized as a parent if the couple’s marriage isn’t recognized.

“I mean, childbirth … can be a medically risky proposition,” said Dupuis. “Having some protection for the other parent if something goes awry in … childbirth is also an urgent need.”

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Dupuis said the gay couples he represents are asking for injunction to provide them relief from the marriage ban. But he said the judge could grant a broader injunction that would lift the ban entirely and allow all gay couples in the state to marry.

“There are other people who clearly have medical issues and other things out there in Wisconsin, and so we would hope the relief would extend beyond that,” said Dupuis. “ But we don’t know what the judge would do.”

Julaine Appling directs Wisconsin Family Action, the group that led the statewide campaign to get the amendment passed in 2006. A strong supporter of the gay marriage ban, Appling said she’s not surprised by the ACLU’s request to block it, and that there have been similar challenges in other states.

The real question to be asked is of our attorney general, who said he would vigorously defend the amendment,” said Appling. “What’s their plan for fighting back against the request?”

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says the state Department of Justice will answer that question in court. A hearing on the injunction will take place in Madison on March 27.