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Same Sex Couples File Lawsuit Against State

The ACLU of Wisconsin and filed a federal lawsuit Monday on behalf of four same-sex couples who wish to marry in Wisconsin or are seeking recognition for their legal out-of-state marriages.
A lawsuit filed in Federal Court this morning seeks to put an end to Wisconsin's Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.
        
        "We are achieving the point at which the majority is starting to see that this is the right thing to do," says ACLU Attorney Larry Dupuis. "We feel that Wisconsin should be part of that conversation"

A complaint filed by the ACLU alleges a violation of the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of due process and equal protection. The current statute makes it illegal not only for same-sex couples to marry in Wisconsin - but also for them to go outside the state for the same purpose.

        "They could be fined up to 10,000 or imprisoned for up to 9 months," says Dupuis. "And that is a unique statute."

Opposition groups say the lawsuit was not unexpected - after a Supreme Court ruling in 2013 extended certain protections to married same-sex couples living in states where their marriages are not recognized.

        "People pretty much thought that these kinds of challenges to state level amendments would happen," says Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action. "And indeed they have been happening."

Appling says the lawsuit goes against the state's majority ruling in 2006.

        "It hurts all of society, because it starts saying that either a mom or dad is not necessary in the rearing of children. Thousands of pages of social science research continue to show what is in the best interest of children is to be brought up in the married homes of their moms and dads."

But a recent Gallup poll shows over half of Americans believe same sex marriage should be legal in every state.

        "We've been hearing a lot from people around the state," says Dupuis. "Some are saying it's about time, and we sort of feel that way to."

Same-sex marriage is now recognized in 17 states, with a handful of others currently considering it.

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