Sep 1, 2009

Marriage Equity Final Brief Filed

William C. McConkey filed his final brief with the Wisconsin Supreme Court last Friday in his bid to overturn Wisconsin's gay marriage ban.

McConkey's argues in William C. McConkey v. J. B. Van Hollen that the anti-gay marriage referendum resulting in the Wisconsin constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage should be overturned because of ambiguous language in the formulation of the referendum.

The 2005 referendum question submitted to the voters on the marriage amendment is composed of two questions posed in the single referendum.

McConkey argues that this violates the "single subject" rule in Article XII, section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution mandating that people may vote for or against more than one proposed amendment separately.

In the reply brief filed Friday, McConkey writes:

Wisconsin voters had a right to expect that a crucial issue like the potential rights and obligations of unmarried individuals who are in a relationship that is not marriage would be discussed and considered fully. Instead, it was coupled with a definition of marriage that was emotionally compelling and presented to the voters in a logrolled resolution that stymied debate and restricted the voters’ right to directly discuss and then address in the voting booth all of the issues before them.

The language of the 2005 referendum reads:

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? [Emphasis added]
The Wisconsin Department of Justice is defending the anti-gay marriage amendment.

Oral arguments are scheduled for November 3.

Friend of the Court briefs, amicus curiae, will likely also be filed with the Court.

See also:
- DOJ Files Anti-Gay Marriage Brief
- Wisconsin Gay Marriage Ban May Go Down
- Objection, Compound Referendum
- Brief Looks to Doom Wisconsin Gay Marriage Ban

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