Survey of Wisconsin Marriage Benefits

Yesterday Action Wisconsin and the Human Rights Campaign released a survey of Wisconsin marriage benefits.

The 12-page document outlines the nearly 200 benefits, responsibilities, and protections of marriage under Wisconsin law including insurance benefits, property benefits, and income tax benefits.

This survey only summarizes Wisconsin's marriage benefits, not the 1,138 benefits denied to committed lesbian and gay couples at a federal level. But check out Action Wisconsin’s Marriage Equality Center for more information about marriage, and how denying it to lesbian and gay couples hurts families here in this state.



At 2:27 PM, Anonymous K.W., Milwaukee said...

First, thank you to A.W. and the HRC for compiling this list. My partner and I are in the process of writing our wills, and the list will come in handy in making sure we're not overlooking something.

Second, a scary item that is on page 12 of the report:
"Any person who lives in Wisconsin (and intends to continue doing so) who travels outside Wisconsin to contract a marriage that is invalid under the laws of Wisconsin is subject to a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 9 months." Sec. 765.30(1)

This law was probably meant to discourage people from polygamy, underage marriage, or marrying a close relative, but it doesn't spell out those things. Instead, it sounds like a same-sex couple that marries in Canada, and then tries to sue to get that marriage recognized in WI, will be penalized heavily for it.

I know that A.W. is more focused on the proposed amendment, but I encourage everyone to lobby for this law to be amended ASAP.

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Wisconsin Lawyer said...

K.W., your read of that law is exactly right. It is possible that Wisconsin residents who have gone to Canada to marry and then returned to Wisconsin could, if the appropriate district attorney wanted to, be charged with violating the marriage evasion statute and prosecuted criminally for it. Whether such a charge would stand up to legal challenge is an open question, and there are good reasons why it would not. However, at least theoretically, there are quite a few people you and I know who have done something "criminal" simply by going to Canada and vowing to love and respect one another until death do they part.

How messed up is that??? Yes, this law needs to be changed, even though we WILL win this amendment battle in November.


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