The ACLU is trying to overturn Wisconsin’s eight-year-old gay marriage ban, while conservative groups are trying to dismantle the domestic partnership benefits the state already has in place. I wrote in Slate about what makes Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban worse than those in most other states:
Wisconsin not only lags behind Minnesota, but also behind Iowa, which has had marriage equality since 2009, and Illinois, where same-sex marriage will become legal on June 1. What makes Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban more heinous than other states’, however, is its draconian “marriage evasion law,” which could penalize same-sex couples who get married in another state with fines up to $10,000 or nine months in jail. Attorneys in the ACLU case say there haven’t been any prosecutions as far as they know, but the law remains on the books nonetheless.
This is just one instance of the weird, somewhat nascent polarization of Wisconsin politics. Though the gay marriage was instated under Jim Doyle, a Democratic governor, it will be a difficult measure to support if it’s still in place when Democrats regain control.