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Snowstorm delays ruling on benefits for Wisconsin same-sex couples registry

Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s same-sex couples will have to wait a little longer to find out if they can keep getting some of the same legal benefits as married couples.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals was scheduled to release an opinion Thursday on whether the three-and-a-half-year-old domestic partner registry is constitutional.

But the appellate and Supreme Court offices in Madison did not open, as employees stayed home to deal with the massive snowstorm.

There was no immediate word on when the ruling would be issued.

Former Governor Jim Doyle and the group Fair Wisconsin championed the registry and helped the Legislature pass it in 2009.

It gives same-sex couples about a fifth of the nearly 200 legal benefits that married couples get. They include things like hospital visitation rights, and end-of-life decisions.

The Wisconsin Family Action group has been trying to get the courts to strike down the partnership law ever since the law took effect – and before.  The group says it goes against the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions.

Doyle says the registry helps prevent discrimination against gays, and it’s only fair that Wisconsin have such a program.