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State Supreme Court to hear challenge to same-sex registry

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear arguments October 23rd in a legal challenge to the state's four-year-old registry for same-sex domestic partners. The Wisconsin Family Action group has tried three times to get the justices to consider throwing out the registry. The Supreme Court finally decided in June to hear the case.

The registry gives domestic couples about one-fifth of the legal benefits of married couples -- including hospital visits and end-of-life decisions. Same-sex couples register at county clerk's offices, similar to the way married couples get their licenses. Family Action says the registry is too much like traditional marriage, and therefore it violates the state's 2006 constitutional amendment against gay marriage and civil unions.

Fair Wisconsin, which is now defending the registry, says it gives same-sex couples only a fraction of what married couples get.

A Dane County judge and a state appeals court have both ruled the domestic partner registry as constitutional.

Former Governor Jim Doyle and his fellow Democrats created the domestic partner registry in 2009. When Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans took control of the State Capitol, they stopped defending the registry -- leaving Fair Wisconsin to take over that challenge.