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National Briefing / Wisconsin

Official won't defend gay law

August 22, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The state attorney general said he would not defend a new law that grants same-sex couples spousal benefits, such as hospital visitation and inheritance, saying lawmakers went against voters' decision not to extend such privileges.

"When the people have spoken by amending our Constitution, I will abide by their command," said Atty. Gen. J.B. Van Hollen, who believes the law is unconstitutional. "When policymakers have ignored their words, I will not."

The law, which took effect Aug. 3, allows gay and lesbian partners to receive dozens of the same legal protections as married spouses. So far, 413 couples have been added to the state registry and more have applied.

The conservative Wisconsin Family Council asked the state Supreme Court last month to invalidate the law. The group argued that it conflicts with a 2006 constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage and any "substantially similar" relationships.

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