domestic partnerships

Wisconsin’s Attorney General Stands By Constitutionally-Approved Discrimination


Groups like Wisconsin Family Action were none too pleased when Wisconsin’s domestic partnership law went into effect this month, despite a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. So they sued, asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to knock down the new law. So on whose side is the attorney general, who’s responsible for defending the state’s interests? The side of conservative jerkoffs, that’s who.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen won’t defend the DP law he announced yesterday. The Supreme Court instructed the state to respond to WFA’s lawsuit by the end of the month; Van Hollen, however, says he will not be representing Wisconsin to uphold domestic partnerships, which are “substantially similar” to marriage. That’s because voters decided on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, he says, and not because he’s trying to drum up support for a possible Republican run for the governor’s mansion. That would mean he’d be facing off against incumbent Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, who signed the DP bill into law. (Doyle isn’t running for re-election.)

“My duty to is to the people of the state of Wisconsin and the highest expression of their will – the constitution of the state of Wisconsin,” says Van Hollen. “When the people have spoken by amending our constitution, I will abide by their command. When policy-makers have ignored their words, I will not.” That leaves Doyle, himself a former attorney general, forced to hire outside counsel to defend DPs. And he’s not happy about it.

“The attorney general’s job is to represent the state and defend state law when there is a good-faith defense to be made,” Doyle said in a statement. “His representation should not be based on whether he likes the state law.”

All of this is amusing on one level because: 1) Van Hollen won’t defend Wisconsin’s DP law since, he says, it violates the state’s constitution; while at the same time 2) President Obama’s Department of Justice say they have to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, even though they acknowledge it’s discriminatory (and thus violates the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment).

And yes, Mr. Van Hollen is the same attorney general who is refusing to investigate child sex abuse allegations against a priest that even the Madison Catholic Diocese acknowledges are “credible.”