News Articles

Veto keeps Wis. from becoming 38th state protecting marriage

EDITORS’ NOTE: This story includes a digest of recent news pertaining to the same-sex “marriage” issue.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The debate over same-sex “marriage” has reached Wisconsin, where the Democrat governor vetoed legislation Nov. 7 that would have defined marriage as being solely between a man and a woman.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed a Defense of Marriage Act which would have protected the state in the instance of another state legalizing same-sex “marriage.” Conservatives said it was necessary; Doyle said it was redundant, divisive and mean-spirited.

His veto is significant because it prevents Wisconsin from becoming the 38th state with a Defense of Marriage Act or similar measure banning same-sex “marriage.” To pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage,” three-fourths of the states, or 38, would have to approve it.

One such effort, the Federal Marriage Amendment, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and has some 100 cosponsors. Conservatives hope that support on the state level for Defense of Marriage Acts will transfer to support for an amendment.

Sponsors of the Wisconsin Defense of Marriage Act may have the votes to override Doyle’s veto, but it is unclear whether Democrats who voted for it the first time will willingly embarrass a governor from their own party by voting for it again.

It passed 68-29 in the Wisconsin Assembly and 22-10 in the state Senate. A veto override would require 66 votes in the Assembly, 22 in the Senate.

Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican and one of the bill’s supporters, warned of the consequences if the bill doesn’t pass.

“We’re going to be in court, and those of us that are opposed to recognizing same-sex marriage have to cross our fingers and hope it doesn’t go to an activist judge,” he said, the Associated Press reported.

In a statement, Doyle said state law already defines marriage as between a husband and wife.

“It seems that nobody except members of the legislature are confused as to whether a husband is a man and a wife is a woman,” he said.

At the same time Doyle is opposing the bill, he is pushing for domestic partner benefits that would give health insurance to live-in partners of state employees. The benefits would apply to both heterosexuals and homosexuals, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Social conservatives nationwide are watching several court cases — including one in Massachusetts — where homosexual couples are asking judges to legalize same-sex “marriage.” Conservatives fear that if one state legalizes it, a homosexual couple will take their marriage license to another state and sue there to have it recognized.

Defense of Marriage Acts became popular after a Hawaii court in the 1990s ruled for the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” While the case was on appeal, voters gave the state legislature the authority to define marriage.

But conservatives fear that Defense of Marriage Acts will be struck down as unconstitutional by a federal court. They say a constitutional amendment is the only way to prevent the legalization of same-sex “marriage.”

In other related issues:

MAYBE OHIO? — Ohio state Rep. Bill Seitz has re-introduced a Defense of Marriage Act in the Ohio House of Representatives. Ohio is one of only 13 states without such a law.

Seitz said he hopes support for the act will grow following the approval of domestic partner registries by voters in Cleveland Heights Nov. 4. Although not legally binding, registries are a way for homosexual couples to receive a document saying they are in a relationship.

“The Cleveland Heights issue demonstrates that there are folks in Ohio willing to give legitimacy to these pseudo-marriages,” Seitz said, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. “It isn’t a hypothetical issue anymore.”

The president of the state Senate says he will introduce the bill once it reaches his chamber, the newspaper reported.

STATE POLLS — Three recent state polls show opposition to same-sex “marriage” but support for civil unions.

In Arizona, 54 percent of Arizonans oppose the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” 42 percent support it, according to an October poll conducted by Northern Arizona University’s Social Research Laboratory. The poll of 610 adults also found that by a 53-43 margin Arizonans favor Vermont-type civil unions that would give homosexual couples many of the rights of marriage.

In Iowa, 65 percent of adults oppose same-sex “marriage” legalization while 23 percent support it, according to a Des Moines Register poll conducted in September and released in October. Iowans support civil unions by a margin of 49-38 percent. The number of people polled was not given.

In Connecticut, the percentages are 50 percent against legalization, 44 percent for it, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll of 1,519 voters in October. The numbers were reversed for civil unions: 51 percent are for them, 43 percent against.

TEEN GIRLS SUPPORTIVE — Teenage girls are nearly twice as likely as teenage boys to support same-sex “marriage,” a survey by Gallup found. The Internet survey of 517 teens found that 56 percent of teenage girls, but only 30 percent of teen boys, are for same-sex “marriage.” The survey was conducted in August.

NEBRASKA UPDATE — U.S. Federal Judge Joseph Bataillon refused Nov. 10 to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to overturn a Nebraska constitutional amendment that bans same-sex “marriage.”

The constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2000, also bans civil unions and domestic partnerships within the state. The plaintiffs say they are not seeking marriage licenses but instead want to strike down an amendment that bans “equal access” rights, such as hospital visitation rights.

It is the only federal case involving the issue of same-sex “marriage.” A ruling could have nationwide ramifications.

Bataillon said the law could prevent homosexual groups from lobbying for benefits that others have, the AP reported.

AD CAMPAIGN — The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest homosexual advocacy group, has begun an ad campaign to push the legalization of same-sex “marriage” and oppose a constitutional amendment.

One full-page ad that ran in The Boston Globe shows two elderly women sitting on a bench, holding hands, with the headline, “Why Are ‘Pro-Family’ Groups Attacking This Devoted Couple?”

The ad states, “Anna and Marion — and all gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships — deserve equal protection under the law.”

The cost of the campaign could approach $1 million, The Washington Post reported.

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust