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Wisconsin Gay Couples Could Face Jail For Marrying In California


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Wisconsin Gay Couples Could Face Jail For Marrying In California

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff


(Madison, Wisconsin) Same-sex couples from Wisconsin who go to California to marry could find themselves facing criminal charges when they return home.

A little known Wisconsin law makes it a criminal offense to enter into a marriage outside the state if that marriage were illegal in Wisconsin.

While the law was passed decades ago to prevent underage couples from crossing state lines to marry it could be used against same-sex couples the Madison Capital Times reported Wednesday.

The penalty is a fine of up to $10,000, nine months in prison, or both.

Wisconsin law limits marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Same-sex marriage became legal in California following a state Supreme Court ruling that went into effect June 17. Unlike Massachusetts which limits gay marriage only to out-of-state couples whose marriages would be legal at home the California ruling opened up marriage to anyone.

LGBT civil rights group Fair Wisconsin is warning couples they could face arrest if they marry in California.

It is not known how many gay and lesbian couples from the state have wed in California. One couple from Madison who are preparing to marry say they are willing to take the chance.

"It would be interesting to be prosecuted," Bob Klebba who is planning to marry longtime partner David Waugh told the Capital Times. "It would really bring up a reaction in the public sentiment."

In 2006, Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Fair Wisconsin said it is now focusing its efforts on seeking passage of bills granting recognition of domestic partnerships.

Spokesperson Glenn Carlson said he is hopeful of getting a bill passed in the next session of the legislature.

?365Gay.com 2008

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The following is the amendment to the Constitution of Wisconsin:

Article XIII, ?13

Marriage. Section 13. [As created Nov. 2006] Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state. [2003 J.R. 29, 2005 J.R. 30, vote Nov. 2006] Ital. for emphasis.

Were in this amendment does it say it is illegal for to same-sex couples to marry or that it imposes criminal charges if a couple do marry. I read it to say it won't be recognized.


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