April 11, 2009

A judicial "conspiracy" over gay marriage

Julaine Appling of the Wisconsin Council on Families says it's a little conveeenient that an appellate court has asked the State Supreme Court to take up a case challenging the [same-sex marriage/civil union] ban, just days after Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson was re-elected to the bench.
The case is McConkey v. Van Hollen, and its procedural history is available here, along with a link to the court of appeals' certification to the Wisconsin Supreme Court:
The central question in this appeal is whether Article XIII, Section 13* of the Wisconsin Constitution, commonly known as the marriage amendment, was enacted in violation of the single-subject rule set forth in Article XII, Section 1** of the Wisconsin Constitution.
The District IV Court of Appeals in Madison passed that (and a related question of standing to sue) up the appellate food chain on Thursday.

The single amendment arguably contains two separate propositions, one pertaining to "marriage" and the other to "civil unions."

The reasoning behind the challenge rests on a claim that voters may have rejected gay "marriage" but left the door open for "civil unions" were they afforded the opportunity to make the distinction, except the amendment's language impermissibly conflated the two concepts.

It's a fair question.

Jack Lord only knows what "conspiracy" Julaine Appling is alleging.

Presumably it has something to do with her confidence that ex-Supreme Court candidate Randy Koschnick had already decided the question in advance (and she might have an argument there).

In any event, it's a constitutional matter. It's not a judicial referendum — or "conspiracy" — on the merits of gay marriage. The same inquiry would obtain from any similarly structured amendment to the Wisconsin constitution, regardless of its subject matter.

* Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.

** [I]f more than one amendment be submitted, they shall be submitted in such manner that the people may vote for or against such amendments separately.

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