Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage heard in appeals court

U.S. Circuit of Appeals considers oral arguments about same-sex marriage

All eyes were on Chicago Tuesday as the future of same-sex marriage in Wisconsin lies in the hands of a three-judge panel with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

For 20 minutes Tuesday morning, Wisconsin’s attorney general defended the state’s ban on same-sex marriage after a judge ruled it unconstitutional in June.

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, many judges have overturned states ban on same-sex couples, which has led to several appeal cases similar to the one Wisconsin is involved in now.

However, many are hopeful because there hasn’t been a federal court yet that hasn’t sided with the district court’s decision.

“I didn’t think I would ever get married,” said Mary O’Sullivan of La Crosse.

O’Sullivan has been with her partner for more than three decades

“Thirty-one years, so don’t you think it’s about time?” said O’Sullivan.

Last week, O’Sullivan wedded the love of her life in Minnesota. If you would have told O’Sullivan that marriage changes things, she would be the first to deny it.

“Nobody could make me more married than I was on Friday of last week,” said O’Sullivan.

But little, by little she is noticing a difference.

“For the whole last week, I find myself walking around smiling for no reason. Well, smiling because I’m so happy,” said O’Sullivan.

But her happiness was short-lived because her marriage is not recognized in the state of Wisconsin.

“We talked about moving, just moving to La Crescent, we even looked at houses in La Crescent, and then as we watched what has happening on the political stage, we figured that things would happen really quickly in Wisconsin,” said O’Sullivan.

On Tuesday, the 7th District U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago heard oral arguments from Wisconsin’s attorney general and others defending the states’ ban on same-sex marriage.

“I think we missed some important points in there. I think we missed the fundamental reality that every child who is born in forever has both a mother and a father,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Council.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said it’s the state’s duty.

“When the attorney general and I take the oath of office, part of that oath is to support the constitution of the state of Wisconsin,” said Walker.

Although a decision has taken longer than expected, O’Sullivan is holding out for La Crosse.

“I am ever the optimist and I think Chicago will come down in our favor,” said O’Sullivan.

Because O’Sullivan said marriage does change everything.

“It just makes us feel a little bit more of the community, even if the state hasn’t gotten it yet, the people have gotten it,” said O’Sullivan.

If the court of appeals upholds Wisconsin Judge Barbara Crabb’s ruling in June, same-sex marriage will be legal in Wisconsin. If it is not upheld, it will most likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court.   

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 19 states, as well as the District of Columbia.