APPLETON - The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s ban on same sex marriage. In 2006 voters approved a state constitutional amendment, specifying that same-sex marriage in the state is illegal, but The ACLU is claiming the Wisconsin ban goes against the federal constitution.
The ACLU’s lawsuit against Wisconsin’s same sex marriage ban was filed on behalf of four same sex couples and those who support the change are optimistic.
“We’re excited to see where this goes. We’re excited to join other states,” said Kathy Flores, who heads up the Fox Valley LGBT Anti-Violence Project.
Flores supports gay marriage and says she wants Wisconsin’s constitution amended again..
“It is discriminatory toward loving LGBT couples all across the state. There’s over 1,400 benefits that come with marriage and we don’t enjoy any of those,” Flores explained.
However, some want to keep the constitution as is.
Julaine Appling is the executive director of Wisconsin Family Action. Her group may help fight the ACLU’s lawsuit, just as it’s fought against same-sex marriage in the past.
“Championed traditional marriage, worked hard to defend it and promote it in the state, we would, at a minimum, do a friend of the court brief,” Appling explained.
Appling told FOX 11 keeping marriage between a man and a woman is vital for future generations.
“The potential for having children is there and we know that what is in the best interest of children is for them to be brought up in a house by their married moms and dads,” Appling said.
But Flores told us the ban on same sex marriage opens the doors for discrimination toward same-sex couples who work and pay taxes.
Appling said regardless, Wisconsinites gave their opinions when they voted in favor of “traditional marriage,” by nearly 60% in 2006.
“I believe that the voters expressed what they believed, what they wanted, that they understood the amendment,” explained Appling.
But since then, some, like Flores, say opinions have changed.
“People that I’ve talked to that might have voted that way in 2006 are saying, ‘no, now I know you or I know this individual. I would vote to give you a chance at equality,’” explained Flores.
The lawsuit will go before the federal court in Madison.
Through a statement, Wisconsin’s Attorney General JB VanHollen said he believes the amendment is constitutional, it was approved by a large majority of residents and he will defend the ban.