Americans for Marriage Equality

State ResourcesWisconsin

Status: Limited dometic partnerships. Constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.

Limited domestic partnerships are available in Wisconsin, providing a few benefits associated with marriage. Limited domestic partnerships were passed by the legislature and went into effect in August 2009.

In Wolf v. Walker, a group of same-sex couples, represented by the ACLU, are challenging Wisconsin’s marriage equality ban. The plaintiffs argue that the state’s ban violates their rights to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. The couples filed suit on February 3, 2014 and on June 6, 2014, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down the marriage ban as unconstitutional.  Judge Crabb did not stay her ruling, but also left unclear whether the state should stop enforcing the ban.  Couples began marrying in the state and Wisconsin officials requested a stay from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, but were denied, with the appeals court saying Judge Crabb had still not issued final judgment.  Ultimately, Judge Crabb stayed her ruling, citing the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision to halt marriages in Utah following a similar federal court ruling striking down that state’s marriage equality ban.  

The case was argued on appeal before the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday, August 26 along side Baskin v. Bogan of Indiana.  On September 3, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court rulings in Wolf v. Walker of Wisconsin as well as Baskin v. Bogan of Indiana, striking down the states' bans on marriage equality.  State officials from Indiana and Wisconsin have officially petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States for writ of certiorary, asking that the cases be heard on appeal to decide the issue of marriage nationwide once and for all.