SCOTUS Rulings On Gay Marriage Provoke Mixed Reactions In Wisconsin


Supporters of same-sex marriage in Wisconsin are hailing today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling as a victory for the equal treatment of gay couples.

But opponents say the ruling leaves it up to each state to define what constitutes a legal marriage.

Larry Dupuis of the Wisconsin American Civil Liberties Union says the court’s ruling makes it clear that same-sex couples who have been legally married in a state that recognizes gay marriage cannot be treated differently than any other married couple when it comes to federal rights and benefits.

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Dupuis: “That’s a huge victory for gay couples around the country who will now at some point, we hope, be able to take advantage of the nearly 1,100 benefits that are dependent on being married.”

Dupuis says it’s not quite clear how states that ban gay marriage will grant any of those benefits but it will include things like a tax exemption on inheritance and the ability of a same-sex spouse who is a U.S. citizen to sponsor his or her partner for immigration purposes.

Julaine Appling of Wisconsin’s American Family Action says the ruling won’t impact Wisconsin’s constitutional gay marriage ban or her pending challenge in the Wisconsin Supreme Court against Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry, which grants some state benefits to same-sex couples.

Appling: “We have legally defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and we aren’t going to recognize or validate look-alike marriages.”

The attorney defending the partnership registry sees it differently. Chris Clark says language in today’s ruling suggests that state bans on gay marriage should be narrowly interpreted.

Clark: “It strengthens the idea that if you cast too wide a net with this type of constitutional amendment you may be running up against some very real constitutional concerns.”

Both sides agree the national debate over gay marriage is far from over.