Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
Wisconsin Family Action thanks and congratulates state legislature on passing “Freedom of Conscience in the Workplace” bill
Wisconsin Family Action: “It’s a very good day in Wisconsin!” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action. “We congratulate and thank the Republican leadership and majority party members in both the Senate and Assembly who voted in support of Senate Bill 44, a bill that will guarantee the conscience rights of Wisconsin workers are respected in the workplace.”
Aaron Loundenslager at The Badger Herald: Members of Wisconsin Family Action, who are challenging the constitutionality of the domestic partnership law, are being represented by attorneys with the conservative nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom. Not only is Wisconsin’s domestic partnership constitutional, groups such as ADF and WFA, whose proclaimed purpose is, among other things, to protect the “sanctity of … marriage,” ironically erode the “sanctity of marriage” by opposing domestic partnerships and marriage equality. It is time for WFA and ADF to face the inevitability of domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages and fully embrace marriage equality.
Isthmus: On the issue of severability, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson asked whether the law would be constitutional if the requirement that domestic partners be same-sex couples were struck down, along with the prohibition against close relatives forming such a partnership. “I believe it likely would be,” responded attorney Austin R. Nimocks, who is representing the plaintiffs in Appling v. Doyle. In other words, he argues that it would be legal for rights and benefits to be provided to domestic partner relationships as long as those partnerships are not sex-specific; they could include such domestic pairings as two sisters who live together. That way, says Nimocks, the status of legal marriage would be preserved. “The [same-sex] relationship in and of itself would not be marriage-like, and that is what is important to make things constitutional,” says Nimocks, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian nonprofit organization based in Scottsdale.
Lisa Neff at Wisconsin Gazette: On the opposing side, a lawyer from Alliance Defending Freedom, representing a group of Republican legislators, told the justices that if they allowed marriage “to be a genderless institution, there is no longer an inherent link between procreation and marriage.”
WSAU.com: Their attorney, Austin Nimocks with the Alliance Defending Freedom, told justices Wednesday that the registry is unconstitutional because the requirements to form a same-sex domestic partnership mirror those for getting married. Nimocks argument centered largely on the fact that the registry has age, gender, and family-relationship restrictions, which are all similar to the requirements for marriage. “This case is not about benefits. This case is rather about chapter 770 mimicking marriage’s blueprint,” Nimocks said in court.
Wiseye.org: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Julaine K. Appling, et al. v. Scott Walker, et al. on October 23, 2013 at the state Capitol. In this case, the Supreme Court interprets the meaning of a constitutional amendment ratified by voters. Specifically, the issue presented is whether Wis. Stat. ch. 770, the domestic partnership law, violates Art. XIII, § 13 of the Wisconsin Constitution.
WI: State Supreme Court hints it may strike down part of domestic partnership law | Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: But Austin Nimocks, an attorney for the plaintiffs, argued domestic partnerships mirror marriages and thus aren’t allowed under a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans gay marriage and any “legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage.” What makes the partnerships unconstitutional are not the benefits that are given but the legal status they confer on same-sex couples, he said. If gay couples were able to retain that legal status, legislators in the future could change the law to give them relationships that were “one benefit short of marriage,” he contended.
Bloomberg: “We are asking the court to declare the law unconstitutional in its entirety,” taxpayers’ lawyer Austin Nimocks told the judges today. The domestic partnership law can’t be saved by striking only parts of it, said Nimocks, an attorney the with Scottsdale, Arizona-based organization Alliance Defending Freedom.
Charisma News: “Society should protect and strengthen marriage, not undermine it,”says ADF senior counsel Austin R. Nimocks, the attorney for the case. “The people of Wisconsin recognize this, and that is precisely the reason they approved a constitutional amendment that protects marriage from all imitators. The intent of the voters here is unmistakable. It is clear that state’s ‘domestic partnership’ scheme is exactly the kind of marriage imitation that the voters intended to prevent.”
Wis. Supreme Court to hear arguments on legal unions imitating marriage | Alliance Defending Freedom
The Wisconsin legislature, through Assembly Joint Resolution 43 and Senate Joint Resolution 38, has begun a public hearing process on an amendment to their state constitution codifying a “right of conscience.” The following is an excerpt from the proposed amendment . . .
WI Family Action: The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on the full meaning of Wisconsin’s marriage amendment and whether it authorizes the creation of other marriage-like unions.
Wisconsin Family Action sent a letter to Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) Friday inviting him to clarify what he believes regarding the best interest of children.
Wisconsin Gazette: “The lifelong, faithful union of a man and a woman is the foundation of every healthy, stable society. The people of Wisconsin recognize this, and that is why they approved a constitutional amendment that specifically protects marriage from all imitators,” said ADF attorney Austin R. Nimocks. “We are appealing the appellate court’s decision because this domestic partnership scheme is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the voters intended to prevent.”
The Badger Herald: As same-sex marriage continues to play an important role in national politics this year with Democrats adopting the issue into their platform, senatorial candidate Tammy Baldwin could make history by becoming the first openly gay U.S. Senator
WI State Journal: The conservative group Wisconsin Family Action set up the manger scene on Sunday, and its president Julaine Appling said they plan to display it through the end of the month. But the move angered the Madison-based Freedom from Religion Foundation,
OneNewsNow.com (6/25): ADF attorney Austin R. Nimocks says the law flies in the face of Wisconsin voters. “Marriage provides a strong foundation for a thriving society,” says Nimocks. “That’s why they approved a constitutional amendment that specifically protects marriage from all imitators. Politicians and activist groups should not be allowed to get around that — and we will appeal this decision because this domestic partnership scheme is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the voters intended to prevent.”
Heather Rayne Geyer at Patch.com: July 23, 2009 – Wisconsin Family Action and The Alliance Defense Fund filed an action with the Wisconsin Supreme Court arguing that the registry is not in compliance with the State Constitution. Governor Doyle appointed Lester Pines to defend the registry against this action.
Milwaukee News Buzz: Meanwhile, Wisconsin Family Action is getting legal help from the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal organization based in Arizona. It’s fielding three staff attorneys and two in Wisconsin that it has described in press releases as “ADF-allied,” Michael Dean of Waukesha and Taylor Samuel of Kenosha.
Green Bay City Council to consider support for WI Family Action’s suit against domestic partner registry
Green Bay Press Gazette: “The City Council on Wednesday will consider a proposal to support Wisconsin Family Action in its lawsuit challenging the state’s domestic partner registry. Approved by state lawmakers and enacted in 2009, the registry allows same-sex couples to qualify for certain employment benefits, including family leave for medical emergencies.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune (AP): “A gay rights group and five gay couples are hoping to defend Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry against a legal challenge. Fair Wisconsin and the couples filed a motion Friday asking to intervene in the lawsuit brought by Wisconsin Family Action in August.”
Wisconsin Family Action: “This state-level targeting is a relatively new political strategy employed by liberal activists–called the Colorado Model–and outlined in detail in the book The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (And Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care) . . . We know that the outcome of this election determines the policy agenda of the state of Wisconsin for the next two years. Planned Parenthood and Fair Wisconsin are worried they may lose pro-abortion, pro-same-sex marriage votes this November so they’re doing everything they can to ensure that things stay the way they were this last session, when they passed just about every item on their respective legislative agendas.”
OneNewsNow: “Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is representing Wisconsin Family Action in a lawsuit against the state over the definition of marriage . . . ‘Even though the people of Wisconsin clearly defined marriage in their state constitution as the union of one man and one woman, the state legislature has implemented a “domestic partnership” scheme that seeks to undermine that marriage amendment,’ explains ADF attorney [Jim Campbell].”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Supporters of Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions are seeking for the second time to have the state’s domestic partnership registry declared unconstitutional . . . The plaintiffs, who are being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, argue that they’re harmed by the registry because it costs taxpayer money to administer.”
LaCrosse Tribune: “A social conservative group filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry, arguing it is a violation of the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The lawsuit filed in Dane County Circuit Court by members of Wisconsin Family Action contends the registry creates a legal status substantially similar to that of marriage.”
On Top Mag: “In filing its challenge to Wisconsin’s domestic partnership law, a group opposed to gay rights claims it’s too similar to marriage . . . WFA had also supported passage of the anti-gay marriage amendment as the Family Research Institute. It is being represented by the Christian-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). ADF lawyers are also defending California’s gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, in federal court.”