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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
Wisconsin School Board Backs Away From Sacred Music Rule After Outcry | Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty: The Alliance Defending Freedom wrote a letter decrying the Board’s move and urging them to undo it, explaining that the First Amendment does not require such an extreme effort to keep sacred music out of school concerts. Meanwhile, the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote praising the Board’s decision and urging them to stand strong in the face of inevitable public pressures.
Wausau Daily Herald: Attorneys for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Lawrenceville, Ga.-based organization, sent a four-page letter today to the School Board making a legal case for the unlimited inclusion of religious music in public school programs. The Alliance argued that music teachers should be left alone to pick selections themselves. “We write to explain that every federal court to examine the issue has determined that including Christmas carols and other religious music in school choir programs fully complies with the First Amendment and to urge you to immediately rescind the new practice instituted by administrative officials,” said the letter, co-signed by three lawyers for the Alliance.
WSAU.com: Although there is no mention of lawsuit, the letter sent by the Alliance Defending Freedom advised the school board of several examples of case law showing how the courts have supported the performance of religious based music in schools. Another potential lawsuit was announced by Mark Braeger, who stated, ““Enough of this foolishness and your liberal anti Christian agenda. You have 48 hours to rescind the restrictions on Christmas music in the schools & I will file a free speech class action lawsuit against the district.”
WSAU.com: Rory Gray from the Alliance Defending Freedom says they support defend religious liberty, right to life, and marriage and family issues. Gray says a Wausau parent contacted them. “We were actually contacted by a mother who’s opposed to the new policy, and we were also called by the Family Policy Council in Wisconsin about this issue to get some legal advice, and so we decided to send a letter to the school board why the new practice is really not a good idea and is completely unnecessary.” He says schools across America play religious music in their curriculum, because it’s part of culture and history, and because many great works of music had religious themes. “Courts have uniformly approved having those in public schools, so we were rather concerned and confused as to why the district thought that was an issue.”
Green Bay Press Gazette: Austin R. Nimocks, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry representing Wisconsin Family Action members, said in an email he would appeal Friday’s decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. “The people of Wisconsin recognize that marriage provides a strong foundation for a thriving society,” Nimrocks wrote. “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.”
AP: Wisconsin’s domestic partnership registry is constitutional, a state appeals court ruled in a decision released Friday that marks a major victory for the state’s largest gay rights group. | Appling v. Doyle (HTML | PDF)
LifeSiteNews: “‘Voters adopted the marriage amendment in Wisconsin for one clear and simple reason: to protect the institution of marriage,’ said ADF Litigation Counsel [Jim Campbell]. ‘We should be strengthening – not undermining – marriage, which is one man and one woman. Once again, activists tried to use the courts to force something on the people that they have repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected.’”
Catholic News Agency: “A lawsuit challenging a Wisconsin constitutional amendment which protected the definition of marriage failed to persuade the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which unanimously rejected its arguments. … The ADF filed an amicus brief in the case. Its litigation counsel [Jim Campbell] said in a statement that voters adopted the measure ‘for one clear and simple reason: to protect the institution of marriage.’ ‘We should be strengthening–not undermining–marriage, which is one man and one woman. Once again, activists tried to use the courts to force something on the people that they have repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected.’”
Leonard Link: “The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that the state’s anti-marriage constitutional amendment . . . does not violate the ‘single subject’ rule. Although this was a private voter lawsuit rather than an action instigated by LGBT public interest groups, the case attracted organization amicus briefs on both sides of the issue. ACLU and Lambda Legal and the League of Women Voters supported McConkey’s appeal, while the Wisconsin Family Council (represented by Alliance Defense Fund), and an organization calling itself ‘Community Leaders Dedicated to Children Raised by Married Mothers and Fathers,’ filed briefs defending the amendment.”
Christian Post: “The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a state constitutional amendment that affirms traditional marriage and bans same-sex civil unions. … [Jim Campbell], litigation counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief last year on behalf of the Wisconsin Family Council, maintained that voters adopted the amendment ‘for one clear and simple reason: to protect the institution of marriage.’” | ADF News Release
Evangelical Examiner: “‘Voters adopted the marriage amendment in Wisconsin for one clear and simple reason: to protect the institution of marriage,’ said ADF Litigation Counsel [Jim Campbell]. ‘We should be strengthening–not undermining–marriage, which is one man and one woman. Once again, activists tried to use the courts to force something on the people that they have repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected.’” | ADF News Release
WI Family Action: “Yesterday the Senate passed AB 458, 18-15, on party lines with all the Democrats in favor and all the Republicans opposed. The Republicans offered six amendments, only one of which the Democrats passed. The bill would require all school districts in Wisconsin that elect to have a Human Growth and Development program, which is the vast majority of districts, to teach the misnamed ‘comprehensive sex ed’ approach, including the proper use of barrier methods of contraception. ”
Wisconsin Family Voice reports on Assembly Bill 458/Senate Bill 324, the so-called “Healthy Youth Act.” This bill would gut abstinence education among other things. Wisconsin Family Action provides more information about the bill can be found here.
LifeSiteNews: “‘This new domestic partnership scheme is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the constitutional amendment approved by Wisconsin voters was intended to prevent,’ said Brian Raum, Senior Counsel in the ADF. ‘Those who are determined to redefine marriage in Wisconsin are attempting an end-run assault on marriage hoping they can evade the clear language of the state constitution.’”
Wisconsin Family Action has forwarded an email that reports:
“Unhealthy Youth Act” passes in Assembly Committee; hearing scheduled in Senate
The Wisconsin Family Council has issued an update that includes this alert:
***Bill that would remove all statutes of limitation for civil lawsuits in child sex-abuse cases aimed at churches & must be stopped
Green Bay Press Gazette: “Lawyers representing Gov. Jim Doyle, a gay rights group and several gay couples have asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to reject a challenge to the state’s new domestic partnership registry.”
Advocate: “Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union are seeking to intervene on behalf of Fair Wisconsin and five same-sex couples in a lawsuit attempting to end newly enacted domestic-partnership protections for same-sex couples in the state . . . [A]ntigay group Wisconsin Family Action, in partnership with the Alliance Defense Fund, filed a lawsuit claiming that the registry violates the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions, which was approved by voters in 2006.”
Winona Daily News (AP): “A gay rights group will ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday to reject a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the state’s new domestic partnership law . . . Jim Campbell, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the plaintiffs, said he is not surprised by the attempt to intervene. He said it was too early to know whether the plaintiffs will oppose it.”
TMJ 4 (AP): “A gay rights group will ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday to reject a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the state’s new domestic partnership law . . . Jim Campbell, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the plaintiffs, said he is not surprised by the attempt to intervene. He said it was too early to know whether the plaintiffs will oppose it.”
The Northwester (AP): “A gay rights group will ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday to reject a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the state’s new domestic partnership law . . . Jim Campbell, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the plaintiffs, said he is not surprised by the attempt to intervene. He said it was too early to know whether the plaintiffs will oppose it.”
Proposition 8 and the Right to Marry: “On August 21st, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B Van Hollen announced his decision not to defend Wisconsin’s new domestic registry law in Appling v. Doyle (Wis. Supreme Court Case No. 2009AP001860) . . . The nation’s leading Christian legal advocacy group, the Alliance Defense Fund, has defended super DOMA amendments against the perceived inroads that these laws represent. It represents Wisconsin Family Action in the Appling lawsuit, and recently filed a lawsuit to defend Ohio’s super DOMA amendment.”
Los Angeles Times: “Wisconsin’s attorney general said Friday he will not defend a new law that grants same-sex couples spousal benefits such as hospital visitation and inheritance, saying lawmakers went against voters’ decision not to extend such privileges . . . Attorney Brian Raum, who is representing the conservative group, said Van Hollen’s decision strengthens the group’s case. ‘I certainly think it helps,’ he said. ‘The attorney general’s opinion in regard to the registry’s unconstitutionality may be a positive factor in helping the court to make a decision on this.’”
EDGE: “The WFA, fronted by president Julaine Appling, filed the petition with the Supreme Court on July 23. Appling, along with representatives from the First Freedoms Foundation and Alliance Defense Fund, claim the registry undermines marriage.”
Everyday Christian: “With the help of the conservative legal advocacy organization Alliance Defense Fund, Wisconsin Family Action has filed a petition at the state Supreme Court to have the laws struck down.”
On Top Magazine: “The group Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) and the Christian-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) are challenging the registry, arguing that is it prohibited by the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage approved by voters in 2006. WFA supported the passage of the anti-gay marriage amendment as the Family Research Institute.”
Winona Daily News: “Monday will be the first day same-sex couples in Wisconsin can register domestic partnerships, which will grant them 43 of the more than 200 rights afforded to married couples. . . . ‘The new domestic partnership scheme is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the constitutional amendment approved by Wisconsin voters was intended to prevent,’ said Brian Raum, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the plaintiffs.”
NBC-15 Madison (includes video): “‘The will of the people, the institution of marriage and the constitution all need to be defended,’ says Julaine Appling, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Family Council. They have filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court asking them to declare the registry unconstitutional.”
OneNewsNow: “‘The domestic partnership law clearly violates Wisconsin’s marriage amendment, which precludes any kind of legal status which is substantially similar to marriage,’ [Raum] explains. ‘And the way that the law reads, it creates a legal status that in almost every way is an attempt to mirror marriage.’”
Andrew Dowd reports in the Leader-Telegram: “‘What the Legislature has done is a direct challenge to the will of the people and the marriage amendment,’ said Jim Campbell, a lawyer at the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization that takes up religious liberty cases.”
LifeSiteNews reports: “‘This new domestic partnership scheme is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the constitutional amendment approved by Wisconsin voters was intended to prevent,’ [Raum] continued. ‘Those who are determined to redefine marriage in Wisconsin are attempting an end-run assault on marriage hoping they can evade the clear language of the state constitution.’”
Shawn Johnson reports in the Superior Telegram: “Brian Raum is an attorney with the national group Alliance Defense Fund, which is bringing the lawsuit. He says the new law creates a legal status that’s substantially similar to marriage.”
Jeff Angileri reports at WKOWTV: “‘Politicians should not pass laws that violate the will of Wisconsin voters,’ said Jim Campbell, of Alliance Defense Fund, which represents Wisconsin Family Action. ‘This is more than just an issue of marriage or creating a marriage substitute or marriage imitation.’”
Stacy Forster reports in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “Wisconsin Family Action board members Jerry Hiller and E. Lee Webster joined Appling in filing the suit. Rather than initiating the suit in a lower court, the group went directly to the Supreme Court, calling it the “most expeditious and efficient” way to resolve the issue. Brian Raum, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund representing Appling and the others, said the group hopes the court would act quickly.”
CitizenLink: “Wisconsin Family Action, with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), has taken the extraordinary step of filing a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court to stop the governor and Legislature from violating the state’s marriage amendment . . . ‘Politicians shouldn’t be trying to skirt the will of voters who legitimately amended the Wisconsin Constitution in a fair election,’ ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum said.”
Andrew Beckett reports at Wisconsin Radio Network: “The group is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund in the lawsuit. Attorney Brian Raum says the domestic partnership law challenges the will of Wisconsin voters, who passed a clear Constitutional amendment defining marriage and preventing any similar legal status.”
Carlos Santoscoy reports at On Top Magazine: “The group Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), which supported passage of the anti-gay marriage amendment as the Family Research Institute, and the Christian-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) announced Thursday they would join forces to fight Governor Jim Doyle’s domestic partnership registry.”
Associated Press: “‘This new domestic partnership scheme is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the constitutional amendment approved by Wisconsin voters was intended to prevent,’ said lawyer Brian Raum of the Alliance Defense Fund, who is representing them. ‘Those who are determined to redefine marriage in Wisconsin are attempting an end-run assault on marriage hoping they can evade the clear language of the state constitution.’”
Wisconsin Family Action asks WI Supreme Court to declare Gov. Doyle’s statewide, same-sex domestic partnership registry unconstitutional
Wisconsin Family Action Press Release: “‘The registry is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the constitutional amendment approved by Wisconsin voters was intended to prevent,’ said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum. ‘Those who wish to redefine marriage are attempting to evade the clear language of the state constitution.’”
Bob Hague reports at the Wisconsin Radio Network: ‘There could be a legal challenge to the state’s domestic partner registry. As part of the recently signed state budget, county clerks will soon have to offer a domestic partner registry to same sex couples around Wisconsin. Not so fast says Julaine Appling of the Wisconsin Family Council. ‘Our lawyers have been looking at this domestic partnership registry since the day it was introduced.’”
Jessica VanEgeren reports in Madison’s Capital Times: “If Dane County Clerk Bob Ohlsen’s hunch is correct, the first Monday in August is going to be a hectic day at his office. That’s the day same-sex couples across the state, including an estimated 1,400 to 2,400 couples living in Dane County, will be able to take advantage of a historic piece of legislation signed Monday by Gov. Jim Doyle that for the first time recognizes domestic partnerships across the state.”
WKOWTV.com: “The Wisconsin Supreme Court is getting ready to hear arguments over the state’s ban on gay marriage. People are already preparing for a legal battle . . . ‘They had almost three years to learn about that amendment and understand it,’ said Julaine Appling, of Wisconsin Family Council.”
Wisconsin Family Voice: “We just confirmed this morning that the State Supreme Court has announced its intention to take the Wisconsin Marriage Amendment case. So now it is up to the seven justices of the State Supreme Court to decide whether the Wisconsin Marriage Protection Amendment meets the state constitutional requirement of a single-issue amendment. . . . WFC, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, submitted amicus briefs for the trial court and appeals court levels but has not been invited to submit a brief for the Supreme Court.”
Wisconsin Radio Network: “Marriage rates in the Badger State have dropped 32-percent since 1985, according to a report by the Wisconsin Family Council. Executive Director Julaine Appling says young people often look at marriage now as a ‘life sentence,’ rather than a life enriching institution.”
Winona Daily News: “Gov. Jim Doyle’s proposal to create a statewide domestic partner registry for same-sex couples would be unique in the nation if it becomes law and survives an expected legal challenge, experts and advocates said. That’s because no state that both bans gay marriage and prohibits other legal recognition of same-sex relationships, as Wisconsin does, allows domestic partnerships or civil unions.”
Racine News: “Claiming that the case presents “several novel issues” and constitutes a matter of “significant public interest with statewide implications,” a panel of three judges on a State District Court of Appeals referred McConkey v. Van Hollen to the Wisconsin Supreme Court today.”
The Daily Cardinal: Critics of the domestic-partner benefits proposal in Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget are challenging its constitutionality in light of the 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Wisconsin Family Council and affiliated groups contend the recent proposal creates a …
http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/news/story.aspx?cid=4831 ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND NEWS RELEASE February 17, 2009 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT ADF MEDIA RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or www.telladf.org/pressroom ADF attorneys advise La Crosse officials regarding constitutionality of invocations ADF letter disputes threats made by secularist group over …
OneNewsNow: The Freedom From Religion Foundation is again asking the Wisconsin legislature to stop opening their meetings with prayer. Julaine Appling, CEO of the Wisconsin Family Council, says the letter the atheist group sent to the assembly speaker claims that the …
The Capital Times: Just when local anti-abortion groups were wondering how they’d stay relevant with Democrats now in control of the Statehouse and White House, along comes Madison Surgery Center’s proposal to offer second-trimester abortions. The issue has, pardon the …
“The collateral damage from this is worse than anyone expects,” said Dr. William Evans . . . Julaine Appling of the Wisconsin Family Council called the groups an “unprecedented coalition” that is “determined . . . that such a plan will not happen . . .
The classic public restroom arrangement – men over here, women over there – is giving way in some Wisconsin department stores, college campuses and elsewhere to a combined, gender-neutral facility . . .
Bill McConkey filed a lawsuit against the state of Wisconsin in July 2007 over the way that the amendment appeared on a ballot in November 2006 . . . The Madison-based Wisconsin Family Council filed a motion through the Alliance Defense Fund . . .
Divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing cost U.S. taxpayers more than $112 billion a year, according to a study commissioned by four groups advocating more government action to bolster marriages . . .
Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief Wednesday defending Wisconsin’s marriage laws. ADF is helping to defend against a lawsuit filed last year by a man seeking to end enforcement of the state’s marriage amendment.