Domestic Partner Foes Fitzgerald, Appling: Lying to Us Then, Or Now?

Claimed Marriage Amendment Nothing to Do with Domestic Partnerships, Tune Changed Now

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Fitzgerald Then: “Could a legislator put together a pack of 50 specific things they would like to give to gay couples? Yeah, they could.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/8/2005]

Fitzgerald Now: “…Sen. Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, said the courts will have to decide if Doyle’s plan meets that standard.” [Associated Press, 2/20/2009]

MADISON, Wis. — Architects of the 2006 same-sex marriage ban who insisted it would not impact legal protections for domestic partners have reversed their position now that Governor Jim Doyle wants to give certain basic legal protections like hospital visitation and inheritance to those in domestic partnerships.

“Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and his right wing allies like Julaine Appling said over and over the ban wasn’t about domestic partners,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Lo and behold, now they have done a complete 180 degree turn and Wisconsin has a right to know: were they lying then, or are they lying now?”

With the Governor’s proposal introduced, both Fitzgerald and Appling are questioning the legality of domestic partner benefits entirely with the amendment having been approved.

According to a Friday news report, “…Sen. Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, said the courts will have to decide if Doyle’s plan meets that standard.” Similarly, Appling told the media, “If they are going to proceed with this, this is going to be settled in court.”

This contradicts Fitzgerald and Appling’s comments during the legislative debate on the Amendment in 2005, including:

  • Fitzgerald: “He said the amendment leaves open the possibility that the Legislature could someday define civil unions. ‘The second clause sets the parameters for civil unions,’ Fitzgerald said. ‘Could a legislator put together a pack of 50 specific things they would like to give to gay couples? Yeah, they could.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/8/2005]
  • Fitzgerald: “The proposed constitutional amendment would not prohibit state or local governments or a private entity from setting up a legal construct to provide privileges or benefits such as health insurance benefits, pension benefits, joint tax return filing or hospital visitation to same-sex or unmarried couples.” [Capital Times, 12/4/2005]
  • Appling: “If the state Legislature wants to take up adoption and inheritance rights, it can do that” if the amendment becomes law, Appling said. “Nothing in the second sentence prohibits that.” [Associated Press, 12/8/2005]
  • Appling: “Contrary to the message being given by opponents of the amendment, the second phrase does not ‘ban civil unions.’” [Daily Cardinal, 12/13/2005]

“People across Wisconsin agree domestic partners should enjoy basic legal protections like being able to visit their partners in the hospital,” said Ross. “Despite the deceptions of Scott Fitzgerald and Julaine Appling, common sense and fairness will prevail.”

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.