Wisconsin partnership law takes effect. Rex Wockner

Wisconsin’s same-sex domestic-partnership law took effect Aug. 3.

It grants 43 of the more than 200 state-level rights and obligations of marriage, in areas such as family medical leave, hospital visitation, inheritance in the absence of a will, court incrimination, wrongful-death suits and real-estate transfers.

Starting in January, a second measure will extend health insurance coverage to same- and opposite-sex partners of state employees, said the GLBT lobby group Fair Wisconsin.

Opponents have sued to overturn the new law, claiming it violates a state constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage — as well as same-sex unions similar to marriage.

The amendment states, in part: “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.”

A spokeswoman for Fair Wisconsin said the partnership law does not confer a status substantially similar to marriage.

By Rex Wockner


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