Excerpts of Wisconsin is first state with same-sex marriage ban to offer domestic partnerships by Stacy Forster of the Journal Sentinel
With the budget signed Monday by Gov. Jim Doyle, Wisconsin has become the first state with a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions to put in place domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
Wisconsin is also the first Midwestern state to legislatively put in place legal protections for same-sex couples.
But supporters of the ban still contend it violates the constitutional amendment on marriage because it creates a legal status that approximates marriage and could file a legal challenge soon.
Starting Aug. 1, couples will be able to apply for a declaration of domestic partnership with their county of residence and would pay a vital records fee for processing the paperwork. Partnerships will be dissolved through a termination process at the county clerk's office.
Couples would be offered 43 of the more than 200 rights and benefits extended to married couples, such as allowing domestic partners to take family and medical leave to care for a seriously ill partner, make end-of-life decisions and add health care coverage.
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