Debate on marriage amendment appeal - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Debate on marriage amendment appeal


MADISON (WKOW) --Last year Madison Area couple Kim Whalen and Kathy Cox went to California and took their more than 20 year relationship to the next level.

"We got married, eight, eight oh eight," Whalen says.

But when they returned to Wisconsin and tried to take advantage of benefits of being married, they faced a harsh reality.

"I said, but I'm married! I went to California, I'm married. 'Nope it doesn't count.' so it's kind of like nothing had changed," Whalen says.

In Wisconsin, gay marriage is against the law, and in 2006. A constitutional amendment referendum sealed the deal.

"The amendment that the people of Wisconsin put in place on November 4th 2006 by nearly 60% of the voters gives marriage the best legal protection possible at this point," says Wisconsin Family Council CEO Julaine Appling.

But that could change.

The state supreme court is being asked to decide whether that constitutional amendment was illegally presented to voters while in referendum form because it was two issues in one.

Fair Wisconsin is optimistic. They say seeing Iowa and Vermont overturn their gay marriage bans gives them hope.

"I think we are going to look at and realize that the amendment that we put in place in 2006 was a mistake..We've seen what courts have done throughout the country and that it's just a matter of time," says Fair Wisconsin's Executive Director Glenn Carlson.

The Wisconsin Family Council is also hopeful. Appling says if the supreme court judges remain independent and un-bias the amendment will stand.

"That they would truly apply the law as it was written. If that happens, I'm very optimistic that the ruling would come down in our favor," Appling says.

Whalen says for now, she and Cox will cherish what they've got.

"In our minds we're married. In our hearts we're married. So that's what counts."

Even if The Wisconsin Supreme Court decides to take on the case and strikes down the amendment, someone would have to challenge the state's marriage law.

As it stands, it says marriage is between a husband and wife.

The Wisconsin Family Council says if the state's highest court strikes down the amendment they will take measures to "give marriage the very best legal protection possible."

Fair Wisconsin says right now they are working to keep domestic partner protections that are in Governor Jim Doyle's budget from being removed by state lawmakers.

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