The court, in a 7-0 vote, disagreed with plaintiff Bill McConkey, who claimed the voter-passed amendment was invalid because the ballot initiative illegally presented voters with more than one issue simultaneously.
The amendment says: “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.”
The court concluded: “(T)he marriage amendment … was adopted in conformity with the separate amendment rule in Article XII, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution, which mandates that voters must be able to vote separately on separate amendments. Both sentences of the marriage amendment relate to marriage and tend to effect or carry out the same general purpose of preserving the legal status of marriage in Wisconsin as between only one man and one woman.”
People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan commented: “(This is) far from the final word on the subject. The court rejected a challenge to the state’s marriage ban based on a narrow technicality, not a substantive challenge to its harmful content. I look forward to seeing further legal challenges to this ban.”
By Rex Wockner