It’s not about the benefits


Many Wisconsin politicians would have the people of the state believe that they enacted the domestic partnership scheme so that members of the same sex who are involved in a relationship can make hospital visits or inherit assets:

Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle signed the law in the state budget last month.  Starting Aug. 3, same-sex couples can register with counties to receive dozens of the same legal protections as married couples, including the right to inherit assets, make hospital visits and take medical leave to care for an ill partner.  (AP)
 
But the domestic partnership scheme is not needed to obtain most of the protections that its proponents raise.  That is simply a distraction.  Marriage is not just a bundle of benefits.  What the state’s marriage amendment prohibits is an identical or similar “legal status,” which is more than the benefits associated with it.  And that’s what the lawsuit is about:  a legal status, not benefits.
 
Another misleading argument from the state:
 
A memo by the nonpartisan Legislative Council concluded this spring the law should survive a legal challenge because it does not give “comprehensive, core aspects of the legal status of marriage to same-sex couples.”  Those include the ability to divorce and share marital property.  (AP)
 
The governor and legislature should not take the people of Wisconsin for fools.  The language approved by voters says, “a legal status identical or substantially similar...shall not be valid or recognized....”  The voters know that a legal status does not have to be 100 percent identical to marriage in order to imitate marriage, or they wouldn’t have approved that language.  That language is there precisely because it’s all too easy for politicians to leave out a provision here or there and then try to sneak a marriage imitation through.  The new domestic partnership scheme is a sneaky assault on marriage from those who are determined to redefine marriage in Wisconsin.  It is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the constitutional amendment approved by Wisconsin voters was intended to prevent.