It's a big step in the right direction, and a most welcome advance after the depressing amendment vote in 2006.
Of course, not content to abide by their own promises or common decency, Wisconsin Family Action decided to file a lawsuit challenging the provision, arguing that it does, in fact, violate the ban by creating something "substantially similar to marriage."
This is funny (not "ha ha" so much as "oh c'MON!") in that several WFA spokespersons, including everyone's favorite closet case Julaine Appling, took great pains to assure the public that the amendment would not negatively affect domestic partnership benefits.
Appling also said that the amendment would not jeopardize domestic partner benefits or other legal protections for gay couples and their children.(OWN points out a few other gems of this nature here)
"That's a smokescreen," she said.
I do not think she knows what that word means. Either that or, gasp! she lied. It's almost as though she and the rest of the WFA cadre were desperate to hide from middle-of-the-road voters the fact that they were simply out to institutionalize discrimination against a particular group of people, rather than just "saving traditional marriage" and all that soundbite-y goodness.
Of course, I doubt very much they really understand much about "traditional marriage," or the great variety of traditions all over the world and throughout history that have governed what marriage is. Heck, Appling herself hasn't ever been married - what does she know about it?
There's all kinds of mind-warping nonsense in this current lawsuit, though. Think about it: Not only does it fly in the face of their repeated statements that the amendment wouldn't be used in exactly this way, but it also makes clear the fact that said amendment was illegal in the first place, in that it contained two separate clauses: one banning gay marriage, the other civil unions, etc. I can only hope that Bill McConkey's lawsuit addressing that very issue is successful.
And there's one other issue here--the WFA is arguing that, as signed into law by Doyle, these domestic partnerships are...
... prohibited by Art. XIII, sec. 13 of the Wisconsin Constitution by creating and requiring recognition of a legal status substantially similar to that of marriage....Such domestic partnerships are entered into by same-sex partners and are officially created and acknowledged in essentially the identical way that marriages are entered into by a man and woman and are officially created and acknowledged.As far as I can tell, though, couples registering for these benefits will be given only 40 of the 200 main rights enjoyed by straight married couples in Wisconsin. And come federal tax time, the differences will become all the more stark. How in the heck are they identical, then?
They aren't, and gay marriage or domestic partnerships don't harm a soul, but that's not really what the WFA and folks like Appling are really up in arms over. They're ignorant and scared and flailing out against positive change in any way they can conjure up. It's discrimination and disdain at its most ridiculous. Plain and simple.
Further reading: A remarkably thorough run-down of the whole debacle via an AP writer.
Further further reading: A lovely, insightful post about the issue from someone whom it effects directly.