It appears that Wisconsin’s same-sex couples will get at least some benefits from the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling which struck down the federal Defense-of-Marriage Act.
The justices also refused to change a state court ruling which said that California’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.
However, that decision was narrowly crafted – and Wisconsin will continue to have its state constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions.
By nullifying the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the same federal benefits as married heterosexual couples.
Larry Dupuis of the American Civil Liberties Union calls that a huge victory. He said it’s possible that same-sex couples living in Wisconsin might get some benefits if they were legally married in other states. He said some benefits relate to where a same-sex couple lives, while others hinge on where they were married.
ACLU leaders and U.S. Attorney Jim Santelle will try to sort everything out, and explain what’s happening at a briefing tonight at Milwaukee’s LGBT Community Center.
The center’s Denise Cowley says the gay community will also use the occasion to celebrate what she calls the most important ruling for gay rights in the nation’s history.