Couple files lawsuit urging Wisconsin Supreme Court to strike down state's same-sex marriage ban

[JURIST] A same-sex couple filed a lawsuit [text, PDF] on Wednesday with the Wisconsin Supreme Court [official website] seeking to strike down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The Wisconsin Constitution was amended in 2006 to include Article XIII, section 13 [text, PDF] which states that, "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state." The couple, Katherine and Linda Halopka-Ivery, filed the lawsuit directly with the Supreme Court, contending that original jurisdiction with the Supreme Court is proper because it is a matter of "great public interest involving the power of the State of Wisconsin, the conduct of its high officials, and the welfare and dignity of its citizens who enter same-sex marriages." The couple, who were married in California in December could face criminal charges under the state's so-called "marriage evasion" law [text] which imposes penalties of up to nine months in jail and $10,000 fines on couples who obtain a marriage outside Wisconsin specifically prohibited under Wisconsin law. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen [official website] said he will defend [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report] the same-sex marriage ban. A federal lawsuit challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban is currently pending [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin [official website].

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most hotly debated topics in the legal community today. Earlier this month Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring [official website] filed an appellate brief [JURIST report] in support of a district court's ruling that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Also in April a federal judge granted an emergency request [JURIST report] to force Indiana to recognize an out-of-state same-sex marriage on a death certificate. One day earlier the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a federal lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriages. Earlier this month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] vowed [JURIST report] to overturn the state's ban on recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.