Wisconsin Marriage Amendment, Question 1 (2006)
The Wisconsin Marriage Amendment, also known as Question 1, was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the November 7, 2006 general election ballot in Wisconsin, where it was approved. The amendment created Section 13 of Article XIII of the Wisconsin Constitution to define marriage in the state as between one man and one woman. On June 6, 2014, Question one was overturned by District Court Judge Barbara Crabb.
- See also: Other lawsuits against Question 1
In February 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit challenging this constitutional amendment. The lead plaintiffs were Virginia Wolf and Carol Schumacher, who were married in Minnesota. The lawsuit alleged that the ban on same-sex marriage violated due process protections by limiting the right to marry and equal protection based on sexual orientation and gender discrimination. The case was heard in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin by Judge Barbara Crabb.
On June 6, 2014, Judge Crabb ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and overturned the ban put in place by Question 1. In her opinion, Judge Crabb refuted the state's argument regarding the history of "traditional marriages," saying,
|“||As an initial matter, defendants and amici have overstated their argument. Throughout history, the most 'traditional' form of marriage has not been between one man and one woman, but between one man and multiple women, which presumably is not a tradition that defendants and amici would like to continue.||”|
—Judge Barbara Crabb
On September 4, 2014, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals declared the marriage ban unconstitutional. The three-judge panel unanimously voted to uphold lower court decisions that reversed marriage restrictions. The decision was stayed, pending action by the United States Supreme Court, as state officials appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.
United States Supreme Court
On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the case, thus allowing the ruling of the Seventh Circuit Court to stand and legalizing same-sex marriage in Wisconsin.
|Wisconsin Question 1 (2006)|
|Overturned Case:Wolf and Schumacher et. al. v. Walker et. al. 14-cv-64-bbc|
Official results via: The Wisconsin Blue Book 2007-2008
Text of measure
The ballot question read:
|“||Marriage. Shall section 13 of article XIII of the constitution be created to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state and that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state?"||”|
Article XIII, §13
Under present Wisconsin law, only a marriage between a husband and a wife is recognized as valid in this state. A husband is commonly defined as a man who is married to a woman, and a wife is commonly defined as a woman who is married to a man.
A "yes" vote would make the existing restriction on marriage as a union between a man and a woman part of the state constitution, and would prohibit any recognition of the validity of a marriage between persons other than one man and one woman.
A "yes" vote would also prohibit recognition of any legal status which is identical or substantially similar to marriage for unmarried persons of either the same sex or different sexes. The constitution would not further specify what is, or what is not, a legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage. Whether any particular type of domestic relationship, partnership or agreement between unmarried persons would be prohibited by this amendment would be left to further legislative or judicial determination.
Donors to the campaign for the measure:
- Vote Yes for Marriage: $627,227
- Focus on Family Marriage Amedment: $35,134
- Highland Community Church: $2,697
- Marriage Amendment Committee: $2,140
- Marriage is 1 Man and 1 Woman: $1,584
- Marinette/Oconto Co Churches: $400
- WI Catholic Conf-AFFM Marriage: $69
- Total: $669,251
Donors to the campaign against the measure:
- Fair Wisconsin: $4,285,746
- Good For Wisconsin: $12,535
- ACLU of Wisconsin Against the Ban: $7,033
- Catholic Families Basic Rights:$3,950
- Attorneys Against the Ban: $1,849
- Wisconsin Coalition Against Sex Assault: $1,173
- Wisconsin Coalition Against Sex Assault: $916
- UW Oshkosh Coalition Against AMD: $292
- Total: $4,313,493
- Overall Total: $4,982,745
A variety of lawsuits have been filed in the wake of the victory of Question One.
- In 2009, Wisconsin Family Action and others who supported Question One filed a lawsuit against the State of Wisconsin to prevent it from implementing a domestic-partnership registry. According to Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, "Elected officials should never pass laws that violate the will of Wisconsin voters who legitimately amended the state constitution in a fair election. This new domestic-partnership scheme is a sneaky assault on marriage from those who are determined to redefine marriage in Wisconsin." This lawsuit was brought directly to the state Supreme Court and was dismissed in November 2009.
- In August 2010, Wisconsin Family Action and others filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court on the same basis.
Path to the ballot
First approval: 2003 AJR 66 (JR 29) Second approval: 2005 SJR 53 (JR 30)
Voters in 30 states have approved legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or initiated constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriages at the ballot box. The first constitutional prohibition was in 1998, and the latest one occurred in May 2012. Most of these amendments define marriage along the lines of a "union of one male and one female."
The following constitutional bans were approved by voters, but later overturned by courts:
- Alaska Marriage Amendment, Measure 2 (1998)
- Nevada Marriage Amendment, Question 2 (2002)
- Montana Marriage Verification, Measure CI-96 (2004)
- Oklahoma Marriage Question 711 (2004)
- Oregon Marriage Measure 36 (2004)
- Utah Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Amendment 3 (2004)
- Kansas Marriage Amendment (2005)
- Alabama Sanctity of Marriage, Constitutional Amendment 774 (June 2006)
- Colorado Definition of Marriage, Initiative 43 (2006)
- Idaho Marriage Definition, HJR 2 (2006)
- South Carolina Amendment 1, the Marriage Act (2006)
- Virginia Question 1, Marriage Amendment (2006)
- Wisconsin Marriage Amendment, Question 1 (2006)
- Arizona Marriage Protection, Proposition 102 (2008)
- California Proposition 8, the "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry" Initiative (2008)
- Florida Definition of Marriage, Amendment 2 (2008)
- North Carolina Same-Sex Marriage, Amendment 1 (May 2012)
Cases overturning the following bans have been appealed to higher courts and are currently stayed:
- Nebraska Marriage Definition Amendment, Initiative 416 (2000)
- Missouri Marriage Definition, Amendment 2 (August 2004)
- Note: Same-sex marriage is legal in St. Louis County and the state recognizes same-sex marriages.
- Mississippi Marriage Definition, Amendment 1 (2004)
- Arkansas Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Proposed Constitutional Amendment 3 (2004)
- South Dakota Marriage Amendment (2006)
- Texas Definition of Marriage Act, Proposition 2 (2005)
The following constitutional bans were approved by voters and have been upheld or not overturned by courts:
- Louisiana Marriage Amendment, Question 1 (September 2004)
- Georgia Marriage Amendment, Question 1 (2004)
- Kentucky Marriage Amendment (2004)
- Michigan Marriage Amendment, Proposal 2 (2004)
- North Dakota Definition of Marriage, Constitutional Measure 1 (2004)
- Ohio Issue 1, the Marriage Amendment (2004)
- Tennessee Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Amendment 1 (2006)
The following constitutional bans were defeated by voters:
- Note: Arizonans defeated a measure in 2006, but approved one in 2008, which has been overturned.
- Wisconsin ballot measures
- Wisconsin 2006 ballot measures
- 2006 ballot measures
- Wisconsin State Senate
- Wisconsin State Assembly
- [ https://archive.today/JtQEZ BuzzFeed Politics, "ACLU Filing Lawsuit In Wisconsin Seeking Marriage Equality," February 3, 2014]
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, "OPINION and ORDER 14-cv-64-bbc," accessed June 11, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Wisconsin Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down By Federal Judge," June 6, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Federal Judge To Wisconsin: You Know 'Traditional' Marriage Was Polygamy, Right?" June 6, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Chicago Tribune, "Federal judge refuses to halt gay weddings in Wisconsin," June 10, 2014
- The New York Times, "Gay-Marriage Bans Fall in Wisconsin and Indiana," September 4, 2014
- The Guardian, "US supreme court decision paves way for sweeping expansion of gay rights," October 6, 2014
- Kenosha County Clerk, "Sample Ballot," November 7, 2006 - General Election
- The Wisconsin Blue Book 2007-2008, p.887
- Follow the Money, "Donors"
- Advocate, "Antigay Groups Sue Over Wisconsin DPs," July 24, 2009 (dead link)
- AP/Wisconsin State Journal, "Lawsuit challenges Wisconsin's domestic partner registry,"August 18, 2010
State of Wisconsin
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