Wisconsin Judge: Domestic Partnerships Don’t Compare To Marriage

A judge in Wisconsin ruled yesterday that domestic partnerships are not substantially similar to marriages, but this is good news for the LGBT community. The decision originates from a lawsuit filed by Wisconsin Family Action, which claimed that the state’s 2009 domestic parternship registry violated a 2006 constitutional amendment banning any legal recognition of relationships “substantially similar” to marriage. Judge Daniel Moeser made it clear that domestic partnerships don’t come close:

MOESER: The state does not recognize domestic partnership in a way that even remotely resembles how the state recognizes marriage. Moreover, domestic partners have far fewer legal rights, duties, and liabilities in comparison to the legal rights, duties, and liabilities of spouses.

Though they may be a far cry from marriage equality, Wisconsin’s domestic partnerships allow same-sex couples to visit each other in hospitals, make end-of-life decisions, and inherit each other’s property. The partnerships do not guarantee any ability to share benefits, and same-sex couples still don’t have the right to adopt.

Using a tactic borrowed from President Obama, Gov. Scott Walker (R) abandoned any defense of the registry last month, deeming it unconstitutional. Fair Wisconsin has since intervened to continue the defense. It could be a long haul, as Wisconsin Family Action has committed to appealing the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.