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View Full Version : Scott Walker moves to block hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples


jfoobar
05-17-11, 08:18 PM
A summary of what this law effectively does is in the last paragraph.

http://topicfire.com/share/Walker-moves-to-ban-hospital-visitation-rights-for-same-sex-couples-17464843.html


Walker seeks to stop defense of state's domestic partner registry
By Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel
May 16, 2011

Madison - Gov. Scott Walker believes a new law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights violates the state constitution and has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending it.

Democrats who controlled the Legislature in 2009 changed the law so that same-sex couples could sign up for domestic partnership registries with county clerks to secure some - but not all - of the rights afforded married couples.

Wisconsin Family Action sued last year in Dane County circuit court, arguing that the registries violated a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans gay marriage and any arrangement that is substantially similar.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen refused to defend the lawsuit, saying he agreed the new law violated the state constitution. Then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, hired Madison attorney Lester Pines to defend the state.

Walker, a Republican, replaced Doyle in January and fired Pines in March. On Friday, Walker filed a motion to stop defending the case.

"Governor Walker, in deference to the legal opinion of the attorney general that the domestic partner registry...is unconstitutional, does not believe the public interest requires a continued defense of this law," says the brief, filed by Walker's chief counsel, Brian Hagedorn.

Hagedorn told Dane County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser that if he could not withdraw from the case, he would like to amend earlier filings to reflect Walker's belief that the registries conflict with the state constitution.

Even if Walker is allowed to withdraw from the case, the law would still be defended in court because gay rights group Fair Wisconsin intervened in the case last year.

Fair Wisconsin attorney Christopher Clark said the governor's move raises legal questions.

"It's not clear to me that a defendant in a lawsuit... can simply walk away from a lawsuit or withdraw," he said.

Pines said Walker's aides never gave him an explanation when they told him to stop working on the case. He said he was troubled by the latest court filing.

"The governor of this state has an obligation to defend laws he doesn't like. And for that matter, so does the attorney general," Pines said. "This shows an utter disrespect for the rule of law."

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie disagreed.

"We don't believe it is in the best interest of the state and its taxpayers to spend additional time and resources defending the legislation," he said in an email.

In 2006, 60% of state voters signed off on changing the constitution to ban gay marriage and a "legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage" for same-sex couples.

Wisconsin Family Action advocated for the amendment. The group first sued the state over the same-sex registries shortly after they were created in 2009, taking its case directly to the state Supreme Court in hopes of getting a quick verdict.

The high court declined to hear the case, and the group then filed a lawsuit last year in Dane County circuit court.

The registries allow same-sex couples to take family and medical leave to care for a seriously ill partner, make end-of-life decisions and have hospital visitation rights. But according to Fair Wisconsin, they still confer only about a quarter of the rights associated with marriage, lacking provisions to allow couples to file joint tax returns or adopt children together.

As of August 2010, about 1,500 same-sex couples had registered with counties.

Didn't the GOP recently criticize the Obama administration for failing to defend a law on the books?

Regardless, where is the fucking compassion? This isn't a "gay marriage" law.

jfoobar
05-17-11, 08:20 PM
Just a reminder of what can happen:

http://blog.mattalgren.com/2009/09/hospital-forces-lesbian-to-die-alone/

Th0r S1mpson
05-17-11, 08:55 PM
Stupid. I like CA law that affords all rights of married couples.

Groucho
05-17-11, 09:11 PM
Just a reminder of what can happen:

http://blog.mattalgren.com/2009/09/hospital-forces-lesbian-to-die-alone/This is not a negative for those in favor of this block. Indeed, it's the intended effect.

NORML54601
05-17-11, 09:34 PM
Douchebag move from a douchebag.

dork
05-17-11, 09:50 PM
Man, this guy's against anything with "union" in the name.

movielib
05-17-11, 09:53 PM
In case anyone is wondering I'm 100% against Walker's position on this.

mosquitobite
05-17-11, 09:55 PM
This is not a negative for those in favor of this block. Indeed, it's the intended effect.

I'm not a member of the religious right, but I am a born again Christian. I can say that I don't know anyone at my church that would read that story and feel "happy" with that outcome. It's cruel, no matter how one feels about homosexuality. In fact, I think putting real faces to stories such as that would go a long way with turning the tide even more.

Josh-da-man
05-17-11, 11:05 PM
Remember, kids, it's all about the economy.

PopcornTreeCt
05-17-11, 11:11 PM
Douchebag move from a douchebag.

:up:

Norm de Plume
05-17-11, 11:35 PM
Guy's not only a jagoff, but an awful singer.

kvrdave
05-18-11, 01:02 AM
I don't agree with this particular case, but I have learned from the enlightened liberal in the White House that it is okay to not defend some laws...unless they involve marijuana or illegal immigration. I remember talking about a slippery slope.

Not reading it all, what does it mean if he doesn't defend it? As I read it, domestic partners can do these things now because of the law that was passed. So if the law isn't defended, does that mean a hospital can sue to keep a partner out and not have to present a case because they are a defacto winner since there is no one to defend it?

kvrdave
05-18-11, 01:10 AM
Okay, read a little more...
"Governor Walker, in deference to the legal opinion of the attorney general that the domestic partner registry...is unconstitutional, does not believe the public interest requires a continued defense of this law," says the brief, filed by Walker's chief counsel, Brian Hagedorn.

Hagedorn told Dane County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser that if he could not withdraw from the case, he would like to amend earlier filings to reflect Walker's belief that the registries conflict with the state constitution.

Even if Walker is allowed to withdraw from the case, the law would still be defended in court because gay rights group Fair Wisconsin intervened in the case last year.

Okay, forgetting the actual issue, this makes sense to me. If your attorney general says that the case violates the constitution and it is a waste of money and time to defend it, should you still defend it? If the constitution said you could have concealed carry permits for guns and a law was passed that said you couldn't, would we all still think Walker is a bastard because he wouldn't defend a law that the attorney general said was unconstitutional?

"The governor of this state has an obligation to defend laws he doesn't like. And for that matter, so does the attorney general," Pines said. "This shows an utter disrespect for the rule of law."

But when we don't defend a law that is for gay rights on the federal level, we're all okay with it. I'm fine with gay marriage. I'm fine with all of it. But do my fellow posters not see how hypocritical this is to bash one and not the other? Obviously the way to go is to get the original law overturned by vote or by a federal court case. But to whine and cry that the governor should defend something the state attorney general says is a loser is just plain hypocritical.

How am I wrong here? Just because we disagree with the law and the issue?

Josh-da-man
05-18-11, 04:28 AM
This is not a negative for those in favor of this block. Indeed, it's the intended effect.

If they hadn't been lesbian whores who mocked God's divine plan for us and married good, decent Christian men then they wouldn't have been in that position in the first place.

movielib
05-18-11, 08:08 AM
Okay, read a little more...


Okay, forgetting the actual issue, this makes sense to me. If your attorney general says that the case violates the constitution and it is a waste of money and time to defend it, should you still defend it? If the constitution said you could have concealed carry permits for guns and a law was passed that said you couldn't, would we all still think Walker is a bastard because he wouldn't defend a law that the attorney general said was unconstitutional?


But when we don't defend a law that is for gay rights on the federal level, we're all okay with it. I'm fine with gay marriage. I'm fine with all of it. But do my fellow posters not see how hypocritical this is to bash one and not the other? Obviously the way to go is to get the original law overturned by vote or by a federal court case. But to whine and cry that the governor should defend something the state attorney general says is a loser is just plain hypocritical.

How am I wrong here? Just because we disagree with the law and the issue?
It's a little more complicated.

First some counties or cities had created some domestic partnership rights. For example, Dane County started offering health insurance coverage for domestic partners in 2000. There was no doubt this was constitutional at the time.

Then there was a state referendum on gay marriage. A "yes" vote banned it. The opponents of the referendum claimed it was worded so broadly that it would also do away with existing domestic partnership rights (i.e. banning "legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage" for same-sex couples). At least some of the proponents pooh-poohed that. The referendum passed and now some of those who scoffed at the notion that it would also kill domestic partnership rights are trying to do just that. The state law passed in 2009 so that is why the AG is saying it's unconstitutional.

Red Dog
05-18-11, 09:14 AM
WI certainly has created a mess in this field of law. Having a referendum certainly didn't help matters. Carbon blobs are bad enough when it comes to informed voting. Then when you give them direct control over an issue, you get this.

I'm curious as to how this Wisconsin Family Action has standing to bring a suit in the first place.

Nausicaa
05-18-11, 09:31 AM
Okay, forgetting the actual issue...

I bet that's exactly how Walker and the AG approached this. Definitely, this isn't the result of anti-gay animus or anything nasty like that.

movielib
05-18-11, 09:52 AM
WI certainly has created a mess in this field of law. Having a referendum certainly didn't help matters. Carbon blobs are bad enough when it comes to informed voting. Then when you give them direct control over an issue, you get this.
Clearly the referendum should have been only about gay marriage, period. There were objections to the language from the beginning but for some reason it stayed that way for the election.

Tracer Bullet
05-18-11, 10:00 AM
Marriage equality. That's the only thing that will stop this bullshit.

wendersfan
05-18-11, 10:10 AM
Marriage equality. That's the only thing that will stop this bullshit.
:up:

orangecrush
05-18-11, 10:44 AM
I'm not a member of the religious right, but I am a born again Christian. I can say that I don't know anyone at my church that would read that story and feel "happy" with that outcome. It's cruel, no matter how one feels about homosexuality. In fact, I think putting real faces to stories such as that would go a long way with turning the tide even more.It is a bit of a tricky issue for the Fundies like me and some of the people I know. I think that for the most part, we don't see gay marriage as possible to exist (in the sense that we will always define marriage as between one man and one woman). However, I think some/all of the privileges afforded automatically to married couples (health decisions, funeral arrangements, filing jointly, etc.) should be given to gay couples (I would even go so far as to say long term couples or long time friends too w/ health decisions). Tracer is probably right though that the state recognizing gay marriage is the only way that stupid things like this will stop.

movielib
05-18-11, 12:22 PM
Marriage equality. That's the only thing that will stop this bullshit.
I agree. But there's also no reason why the Wisconsin referendum should also have nixed domestic partnerships. Half a loaf is better than none.

kvrdave
05-18-11, 12:47 PM
I bet that's exactly how Walker and the AG approached this. Definitely, this isn't the result of anti-gay animus or anything nasty like that.

They may have. They may hate gay people and stalk them at night for all I know. But I don't know how that changes how one looks at the rule of law. I don't see how not defending one thing is okay, but not defending another is really bad. You are just talking about laws and not issues, imo. They should all be defended, including ones I don't want to be. To do otherwise ends up with a system where we don't change laws, we just defend the ones the current power likes.

Marriage equality. That's the only thing that will stop this bullshit.

Agreed.

Mabuse
05-18-11, 02:13 PM
In most issues I always ask myself "who bennefits?" But with this oppossition I really can't find the answer. Who bennefits from refusing gays hospital visitation rights?

Red Dog
05-18-11, 02:18 PM
In most issues I always ask myself "who bennefits?" But with this oppossition I really can't find the answer. Who bennefits from refusing gays hospital visitation rights?

It's not really that, at least legally speaking. Like I said before, for this family group to sue, they have to have standing. Standing requires an injury in fact, and I'm failing to see how they can claim that.

Mabuse
05-18-11, 02:36 PM
I mean in general, not just this specific case. There are movements across the country to block gay rights. Obviously the gays will bennefit a lot if they win, but who bennefits if they lose? And don't say "religious folks who just want to rub morality in everyones faces." Everything boils down to money. No one would burn any callories blocking this if there wasn't a way to make a buck somewhere. What's the angle?

kvrdave
05-18-11, 03:02 PM
I mean in general, not just this specific case. There are movements across the country to block gay rights. Obviously the gays will bennefit a lot if they win, but who bennefits if they lose? And don't say "religious folks who just want to rub morality in everyones faces." Everything boils down to money. No one would burn any callories blocking this if there wasn't a way to make a buck somewhere. What's the angle?

No one truly benefits from a lot of these things. They are just about "morality" which is what my signature is all about. Whether it is gay marriage or what kind of light bulb you can use, it is all the same. Just from different views and people who tell you not to tell them how to live.

wmansir
05-18-11, 03:11 PM
I don't see how the amendment can be read as anything but outlawing civil unions, whether for gays or straits. I can't really say if this law is unconstitutional or not. The rights granted are substantially similar to a good portion of marital rights, but not the marital status in total.

Red Dog
05-18-11, 03:14 PM
I don't see how the amendment can be read as anything but outlawing civil unions, whether for gays or straits. I can't really say if this law is unconstitutional or not. The rights granted are substantially similar to a good portion of marital rights, but not the marital status in total.

I have no doubt the amendment outlaws civil unions, but that's not really what's going on here. If the article's wording of the Constitutional amendment is accurate, the problem with the argument from the Family-prudes is that this law entails but one facet of a marital (or civil union) relationship. I'm skeptical that makes for an 'arrangement' that is substantially similar to marriage.

Mabuse
05-18-11, 04:40 PM
No one truly benefits from a lot of these things. They are just about "morality" which is what my signature is all about. Whether it is gay marriage or what kind of light bulb you can use, it is all the same. Just from different views and people who tell you not to tell them how to live.After thinking about it some more I think the "angle" is that certain people can benefit by opposing gay rights. They can grow their congretation or expand their control over others that share their views.

kvrdave
05-18-11, 04:46 PM
I would bet in the current climate, they could just as easily lose more than they gain. But they may not believe that.

wmansir
05-18-11, 05:04 PM
I have no doubt the amendment outlaws civil unions, but that's not really what's going on here. If the article's wording of the Constitutional amendment is accurate, the problem with the argument from the Family-prudes is that this law entails but one facet of a marital (or civil union) relationship. I'm skeptical that makes for an 'arrangement' that is substantially similar to marriage.

I meant to quote movielib's post saying that when it was passed some argued it would not outlaw civil unions, which is why I said I don't see how it could possibly be read that way.

The actual amendment reads: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.

jfoobar
05-18-11, 07:35 PM
I have no doubt the amendment outlaws civil unions, but that's not really what's going on here. If the article's wording of the Constitutional amendment is accurate, the problem with the argument from the Family-prudes is that this law entails but one facet of a marital (or civil union) relationship. I'm skeptical that makes for an 'arrangement' that is substantially similar to marriage.

As you should be, because it isn't.

The issue is not really that the AG feels that the law is unconstitutional. If there were a genuine constitutional concern here, that might be a pragmatic and legally sound position to take. The issue, in my opinion, is that the AG doesn't feel that the law is unconstitutional but says he does. There seems to me to be more than enough gray area here (and even using the term "gray area" is overly pessimistic) between the privileges afforded by the law and the amendment outlawing gay marriage and things "substantially similar" to it to comfortably defend a constitutional challenge to the law. That the AG is choosing not to do so is not something I can interpret as anything other than reactionary troglodyte religious conservative bullshit.

Tracer Bullet
05-18-11, 08:21 PM
I would bet in the current climate, they could just as easily lose more than they gain. But they may not believe that.

There was a report that rich Republicans are pumping a lot of money into passing the marriage equality bill here in New York. So yes, I think these people will be losing more than they gain soon enough, at least in certain areas of the country.

mosquitobite
05-18-11, 09:23 PM
No one truly benefits from a lot of these things. They are just about "morality" which is what my signature is all about. Whether it is gay marriage or what kind of light bulb you can use, it is all the same. Just from different views and people who tell you not to tell them how to live.

:up:

gotta love people who want the government to control things...just not *this* (insert whatever pet issue)

mosquitobite
05-18-11, 09:26 PM
It is a bit of a tricky issue for the Fundies like me and some of the people I know. I think that for the most part, we don't see gay marriage as possible to exist (in the sense that we will always define marriage as between one man and one woman). However, I think some/all of the privileges afforded automatically to married couples (health decisions, funeral arrangements, filing jointly, etc.) should be given to gay couples (I would even go so far as to say long term couples or long time friends too w/ health decisions). Tracer is probably right though that the state recognizing gay marriage is the only way that stupid things like this will stop.

That's kinda what I meant.

I can't see someone reading that story that foo posted and thinking "thank GOD gay marriage wasn't recognized!"

I can have my biblical beliefs about the issue and still realize that what someone wants to call THEIR union doesn't affect mine.

And besides, I will still hold the position that the Church looks extremely hypocritical and nothing less than judgmental by fighting gay marriage while turning a blind eye to no-fault divorce.

Hey! Maybe that's a route for gays to take. Start up petitions in every state to outlaw no-fault divorce. Maybe then people would realize how hypocritical they look! ;)

shadowhawk2020
05-18-11, 09:33 PM
:up:

gotta love people who want the government to control things...just not *this* (insert whatever pet issue)

I was thinking it works both ways.

"get the government out of everything except *this*"

Or better said "get your government hands off my Medicare."

mosquitobite
05-19-11, 08:30 AM
I was thinking it works both ways.

"get the government out of everything except *this*"

Or better said "get your government hands off my Medicare."

You're right, especially for someone to argue get out of everything except SS and Medicare. (whatever pet issue)

That said, the Constitution was meant to LIMIT government. We've reversed that mindset over the last generation.

Red Dog
05-19-11, 09:07 AM
As you should be, because it isn't.

The issue is not really that the AG feels that the law is unconstitutional. If there were a genuine constitutional concern here, that might be a pragmatic and legally sound position to take. The issue, in my opinion, is that the AG doesn't feel that the law is unconstitutional but says he does. There seems to me to be more than enough gray area here (and even using the term "gray area" is overly pessimistic) between the privileges afforded by the law and the amendment outlawing gay marriage and things "substantially similar" to it to comfortably defend a constitutional challenge to the law. That the AG is choosing not to do so is not something I can interpret as anything other than reactionary troglodyte religious conservative bullshit.

Now that I see the full amendment that was posted, I agree 100%. And to me, the gray area isn't even all the gray given that this is a single law governing a single facet of a relationship. I can't defend the AG's/Guv's decision here at all. Whereas with Obama and DOMA, that act is so blatantly unconstitutional, so I can easily defend that decision.

orangecrush
05-19-11, 10:38 AM
That's kinda what I meant.

I can't see someone reading that story that foo posted and thinking "thank GOD gay marriage wasn't recognized!"

I can have my biblical beliefs about the issue and still realize that what someone wants to call THEIR union doesn't affect mine.

And besides, I will still hold the position that the Church looks extremely hypocritical and nothing less than judgmental by fighting gay marriage while turning a blind eye to no-fault divorce.

Hey! Maybe that's a route for gays to take. Start up petitions in every state to outlaw no-fault divorce. Maybe then people would realize how hypocritical they look! ;)You'd probably like our church. We hate on all sin ;) I think for most Christians (like a lot of other people), it comes down to judging those sins you don't commit and downplaying your own sin. Really, we (Christians) need to be more humble and preach the gospel more generally to unbelievers and judge the specific sins of other believers more.

Back on topic: I know that my preferred solution of having government only recognize civil unions and leaving marriage up to individuals to work out won't happen. So, I think allowing gay marriage really is the only solution that gives a just outcome for gay people.

orangecrush
05-19-11, 10:44 AM
:up:

gotta love people who want the government to control things...just not *this* (insert whatever pet issue)It can be a fine line. In a certain sense mandating morality is what the laws and many governement actions are all about (Taking care of the poor and elderly amoung us, Work laws, Minium Wage, etc.)

Superboy
05-19-11, 11:50 AM
I don't know why everyone is rushing to defend the gays. It's against the law for them to be doing this, and yet they're still doing it. They're fighting against the law, which is always fair, and must be held up. EVERY SINGLE HOMOSEXUAL IN OUR COUNTRY IS BREAKING THE LAW. And we can't just change the law just to accommodate a minority when society clearly disagrees with their values. America isn't about that - it's about a strong, unified, and homogeneous identity that should be adopted by everyone. If we want to change the law in the future just to be fair, we need to enforce the law now. My plan is as follows:

Build a fence around every single church to keep out homosexuals and prevent them from marrying each other.

Round them up and put them in prison, just to make sure we have all of them under tabs.

Debate endlessly in Congress outlining all their so-called rights and privileges, force them all to pay massive fines for breaching social norms, and then put them all on probationary release. Gradually release them into society one at a time.

This might take years, and cost trillions of dollars, but no one should be allowed to break the law. EVER.

Superboy
05-19-11, 11:52 AM
You'd probably like our church. We hate on all sin ;) I think for most Christians (like a lot of other people), it comes down to judging those sins you don't commit and downplaying your own sin. Really, we (Christians) need to be more humble and preach the gospel more generally to unbelievers and judge the specific sins of other believers more.

Back on topic: I know that my preferred solution of having government only recognize civil unions and leaving marriage up to individuals to work out won't happen. So, I think allowing gay marriage really is the only solution that gives a just outcome for gay people.

Ah yes, I remember Romans 3:23 now: For all have fallen short of the glory of God, [edit to add:] but some people have fallen just a little bit shorter than others [/edit to add]

orangecrush
05-19-11, 12:00 PM
Ah yes, I remember Romans 3:23 now: For all have fallen short of the glory of God, [edit to add:] but some people have fallen just a little bit shorter than others [/edit to add]This really is the reason that Christians should be more humble. You would think that we would understand just how much we have been forgiven and pay it forward, so to speak.

Superboy
05-19-11, 12:15 PM
This really is the reason that Christians should be more humble. You would think that we would understand just how much we have been forgiven and pay it forward, so to speak.

It was only in response to you saying that Christians should persecute specific sins. Because there's nothing in the Bible that supports that.

kvrdave
05-19-11, 12:32 PM
Hey! Maybe that's a route for gays to take. Start up petitions in every state to outlaw no-fault divorce. Maybe then people would realize how hypocritical they look! ;)

Yeah, people realize that all the time. :lol:

orangecrush
05-19-11, 01:20 PM
It was only in response to you saying that Christians should persecute specific sins. Because there's nothing in the Bible that supports that.I may have not been very clear. I was saying that we should admonish other Christians we interact with when they sin in a specific way (lie to others, are mean to their spouse, etc.) and not unbelievers.

Artman
05-19-11, 03:38 PM
I may have not been very clear. I was saying that we should admonish other Christians we interact with when they sin in a specific way (lie to others, are mean to their spouse, etc.) and not unbelievers.

It seems like you're talking about separate things though... one's opinion on a political issue and how one treats individuals. How much (or little) a believer wants to be involved with a political issue has no bearing on their treatment of others on a personal level.

NORML54601
05-19-11, 04:02 PM
It seems like you're talking about separate things though... one's opinion on a political issue and how one treats individuals. How much (or little) a believer wants to be involved with a political issue has no bearing on their treatment of others on a personal level.

I know more than a few Christians who treat people who disagree politically with them with animosity.

kvrdave
05-19-11, 06:19 PM
I know more than a few Christians who treat people who disagree politically with them with animosity.

Hell, I do. Morons don't deserve to live if they can't even vote correctly.

Superboy
05-19-11, 08:08 PM
I may have not been very clear. I was saying that we should admonish other Christians we interact with when they sin in a specific way (lie to others, are mean to their spouse, etc.) and not unbelievers.

Yes, that's what I interpreted you to mean.