American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin
Press Release

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Freedom to Marry in Wisconsin

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the district court decision that the discriminatory amendment to the Wisconsin state constitution preventing same-sex couples from marrying is unconstitutional.

By - Sep 4th, 2014 03:28 pm

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the district court decision that the discriminatory amendment to the Wisconsin state constitution preventing same-sex couples from marrying is unconstitutional. The decision will go into effect in 21 days, unless the defendants seek a stay of the ruling.  The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law on behalf of eight couples seeking the freedom to marry in Wisconsin or to have their out-of-state marriages recognized.

Writing for the three judge panel, Judge Richard Posner characterized the states’ argument as “so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.” He went on to detail the many harms to same-sex couples, and especially their children, from the marriage bans.

“A degree of arbitrariness is inherent in government regulation, but when there is no justification for government’s treating a traditionally discriminated-against group significantly worse than the dominant group in the society, doing so denies equal protection of the laws. One wouldn’t know, reading Wisconsin’s brief, that there is or ever has been discrimination against homosexuals anywhere in the United States.” – Judge Posner

“Today we join same sex couples, their families and our allies across the country in celebrating this victory,” said Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin.  “Every loving and committed couple in the U.S. should have the freedom to marry, protect their loved ones, and have their commitment honored by our legal system. We celebrate and tomorrow we continue the fight to make marriage equality the law of the land, not just in certain states.”

Judi Trampf, one of the plaintiffs in the case celebrates her birthday today, and this is her favorite present.  “Katy and I have been together for over 25 years and want very much to get married.  To be honest, before we won the case in Federal Court, we didn’t realize how much marriage meant – mostly because we could never let ourselves imagine it – it wasn’t a reality for us for so many years.  Now marriage could – and should- be our reality. We want very much to get married.  To have public and legal recognition of our committed relationship is very important to us both.”

More information about this case can be found at: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/wolf-and-schumacher-v-walker

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