Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban debated in federal appeals court

By Kris Schuller | kris.schuller@wearegreenbay.com

Published 08/26 2014 09:09PM

Updated 08/26 2014 09:13PM

CHICAGO (WFRV) The future of Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage was debated Tuesday in federal court in Chicago. Wisconsin officials want the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold its ban on same-sex marriage -  ruled unconstitutional just two months ago. While those pressing to end the ban say, they just want to be treated equally.

For just over an hour and a half the three-judge panel questioned attorneys on all sides. The state's of Wisconsin and Indiana argued to keep in place same-sex marriage bans struck down earlier this year - yet  stayed during this the appeals process.  Lawyers for the plaintiffs urged the panel to throw them out for good.

"I'd like to say that today went - we felt - went extremely well," said Judy Trampf of Madison, a plaintiff.

"I think we missed some important points in there," said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Council. "I think we missed the fundamental reality that every child who is born in forever - has both a mother and a father."

Supporters of the ban say it is a matter of preserving traditional marriage and family. Opponents say this fight is about equal rights for all families. Tuesday one Republican appointee compared same-sex marriage bans to once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.

"My suspicion is they will uphold what the district court said just a couple months ago," said Charley Jacobs, an associate professor in Political Science at St. Norbert College in De Pere.

Jacobs says the appeals court will also likely stay its decision.  He says that with similar cases in the federal appeals process nationwide - one case or all - will end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

"When that occurs, the U.S. Supreme Court typically takes those cases and consolidates them into one so they can figure out the issues and decide a final way - what the word is on these kinds of laws," Jacobs said.

Meaning Tuesday's hearing may have been simply a precursor to a meeting before the highest court in the land in this growing debate over same-sex marriage.

"We are on a collision course with religious freedom," said Appling.

"We're very, very hopeful for the outcome of our case," Trampf said.

The appeals court is expected to make a ruling either this fall or early next year.

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