[JURIST] A bill [PDF text] banning same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] passed the Republican-majority Wisconsin State Legislature [official website] Tuesday evening and will be presented to voters on the state ballot in November. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle [official website] (D-WI), who will not have an opportunity to consider the bill, has vetoed prior efforts to ban gay marriages and is expected to denounce the proposal. The measure would add 43 words to the Wisconsin Constitution [official text] restricting the legal definition of marriage to a union only between one man and one woman and denying similar legal status to unmarried individuals, including those in civil unions.
Proponents believe the amendment will avert any legal challenges analogous to the successful suits brought by same-sex couples in Massachusetts [JURIST report]. Critics assert that the amendment is unnecessary because state law already defines marriage as between a husband and wife and that the proposal will prevent needed benefits, such as health care, from being provided to partners of gay employees. AP has more.