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Wisconsin Supreme Court to rule tomorrow on gay marriage challenge

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MADISON (WSAU) The Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to decide tomorrow whether the state’s ban on gay marriage should be struck down on a technicality. Fifty-nine percent of Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2006 to ban gay marriages and civil unions. But U-W Oshkosh professor William McConkey says those two bans should have put to the voters separately, instead of in one referendum question.

A Dane County judge struck down McConkey’s challenge in late 2007. And the Fourth District Appeals Court in Madison refused to touch the issue last spring, saying there were questions the Supreme Court should address. The amendment defines marriage as between a man and a woman. And it bars the state from granting a similar legal status to unmarried individuals. If the measure is struck down, gay marriage would not be made legal because an earlier state law defines marriage as between a husband and a wife.

Last year’s state budget allowed gay couples to register as domestic partners, to get about one-fifth of the benefits that married couples now receive.

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