Wisconsin Wants to Stop Gay Couples' Hospital Visits

Governor Scott Walker argues loophole violates state constitution

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 17, 2011 6:02 PM CDT

(Newser) – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker isn't steering clear of political flash points: He wants the state to stop defending a law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Republican governor has asked a judge for permission to stop defending a law put in place under the watch of his Democratic predecessor. He contends it violates the state constitution, which bans gay marriage.

Democrats in 2009 worked in a loophole so same-sex partners could visit each other in the hospital, the Journal Sentinel explains. Couples could register as domestic partners and get some of the rights, including hospital visitation, as married couples. A group called Wisconsin Family Action sued the state last year, and the Walker administration agrees with its view that the law violates a 2006 amendment banning gay marriage. "Governor Walker, in deference to the legal opinion of the attorney general that the domestic partner registry...is unconstitutional, does not believe the public interest requires a continued defense of this law," says a brief filed last week.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker testifies on Capitol Hill on April 14, 2011.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker testifies on Capitol Hill on April 14, 2011.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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