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Scott Walker’s Record on LGBTQ Issues

Gov. Scott Walker’s Politics in the Area of LGBTQ+ Issues Have Been Careful and Calculating

Gov. Scott Walker’s politics in this area have been careful and calculating. While Walker opposes equality, firing a lawyer defending Wisconsin’s domestic partnership registry and supporting continued appeals of a federal court ruling striking down Wisconsin’s marriage equality ban, he has been careful as governor not to often speak publicly on these issues.

Instead, his standard response had been that because he does not have a role in court decisions, his opinion does not matter. However, as a presidential candidate who needs to shore up support among the Republican base, Walker has been clear that he believes issues of LGBTQ equality, such as marriage equality, should be left to the states to decide on their own.

In a June 2015 interview, Walker affirmed his belief that marriage “is between one man and one woman”, and he indicated that if the Supreme Court upholds marriage equality, the next step would be to pursue a constitutional amendment.

Walker calls for constitutional amendment to allow states to ban same-sex marriage

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, seizing the moment after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, called Friday for a Constitutional amendment that would allow the states to decide whether gay marriage should be legal. Walker’s call came shortly after the high court ruled 5-4 that same-sex couples could marry across the country, overturning a number of state same-sex marriage bans. The ruling was “a grave mistake,” the Republican governor said, touting his support for amending his state’s constitution “to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism.” “As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” Walker said in the statement. [Politico, 06/26/2015]

Walker allowed state to contest & appeal marriage ruling, resulting in state ultimately owing $1.1...

The State of Wisconsin's unsuccessful court battle to prevent gay marriage will cost taxpayers more than $1 million, under an agreement released Friday. State Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican, and attorneys for eight gay and lesbian couples reached the agreement after the couples successfully sued to overturn the state's 2006 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The couples were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which sought $1.25 million to cover its costs because the couples prevailed in their lawsuit. Ultimately, the ACLU will receive nearly $1.1 million, under the stipulation released Friday...Gov. Scott Walker, one of the defendants, and then-Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, both Republicans, opposed the same-sex plaintiffs at every level of the federal court system, he said. "The state never seemed to appreciate how much taxpayer money is expended on this type of litigation in which it was pretty clear from the outset that Wisconsin was going to lose," Tobias said. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 03/27/2015]

#WalkerAt20: Failure to Respect Diversity

In his twenty years in office, Scott Walker has amassed a truly astounding record of failure. To commemorate the looming anniversary of his first election to office, One Wisconsin Now is highlighting a different and depressing failure of Gov. Walker every day, for twenty days. The title “Governor of the State of Wisconsin” suggests that the holder of the office would consider the diversity of the entire state's population. As judged by his actions in office, Scott Walker has clearly failed in this regard.

[One Wisconsin Now, 06/20/2013]

Despite Walker Efforts, State Supreme Court upheld the domestic partnership registry

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the state’s domestic partnership registry Thursday, ensuring same-sex couples will retain certain rights no matter how a federal court rules on the state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In a unanimous decision written by Justice N. Patrick Crooks, the court emphasized that proponents of the amendment, including Wisconsin Family Action executive director Julaine Appling, the lead plaintiff in the case, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, made public statements in 2006 that the marriage amendment wouldn’t prevent the Legislature from granting certain rights to same-sex couples.

[Capital Times, 03/24/2011]

Walker fired lawyers defending state domestic partnership registry law

Gov. Scott Walker has fired the lawyers defending the state in a challenge to Wisconsin's domestic partnership law. But the governor's spokesman said his office "is still working to appoint a new counsel to the case." Madison attorney Lester Pines informed Dane County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser in a March 22 letter that his firm, Cullen Weston Pines & Bach, had been "terminated" by Walker as counsel for the state in the lawsuit filed in 2009 by Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, a conservative advocacy group.

[Capital Times, 03/24/2011]

Walker Vetoed County Domestic Partner Benefits Study

A Milwaukee County Board committee on Monday recommended that the full board sustain County Executive Scott Walker's veto of a measure that would lay the groundwork for granting domestic partner health benefits to county employees. The Personnel Committee voted 5-2 to uphold Walker's Nov. 16 veto. Walker and other opponents of the domestic partners measure said the benefit would be too costly at a time when the county faces serious budget problems.”

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/14/2009]