Saturday, August 22, 2009

Who Needs the courts! Wisconsin Republican AG Van Hollen Declares Domestic Partner Law Unconstitutional.

After state lawmakers restored the attorney generals funding, stripped out during the last state budget negotiation, J.B. Van Hollen thanked Democrats by refusing to defend their domestic partner registry law. He also decided to make taxpayers pay extra during the recession by forcing the state to seek legal council in the private sector. Wisconsin State Journal:

Van Hollen, a Republican, said in a statement that the state Constitution prohibits same-sex couples from holding a legal status that is “substantially similar” to marriage and that he has concluded the registry does just that. “My decision isn’t based on a policy disagreement,” he said. “ As Attorney General, I prosecute and defend laws that I wouldn’t have voted for if I were a policymaker. That is what I believe the job entails.


"But I will not ignore the Constitution. My oath isn’t to the legislature or the governor. My duty is to the people of the State of Wisconsin and the highest expression of their will — the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin. When the people have spoken by amending our Constitution, I will abide by their command. When policymakers have ignored their words, I will
That decision is usually left up to the courts to decide, including the now conservative activist State Supreme Court. Another words, the legality of the law has not been determined yet. But that doesn't stop the authoritarian conservative elite, like Van Hollen, who can make these decisions for everyone else.

Instead of defending the small shred of rights allowed by the new law, which is not "substantially similar" to marriage, Van Hollen couldn't contain the bigot lurking inside his cool demeanor. Oh, did I mention, "Van Hollen has been mentioned as a potential GOP candidate for governor in 2010, though he has not said whether he will run."

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, blasted Van Hollen’s decision ... Van Hollen was “shredding the Constitution for political purposes” and that the decision will “force the state taxpayers to fund outside attorneys to defend our Constitution and perform Van Hollen’s job.”
"The attorney general's job is to represent the state and defend state law when there is a good-faith defense to be made," Doyle said in a statement. "His representation should not be based on whether he likes the state law."

Despite the fact that AG's have been known to decline cases representing the state they believe to be unconstitutional, Van Hollen is basing his decision on the prejudices of his right wing anti-gay supporters, a noble cause spear headed by Wisconsin Family Action. WFA is the states local homophobic gay basher, "marriage protectors," who are asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the law based on the fact that same sex couples are second class citizens.

Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action said, "The state's domestic partner registry is a direct attack on the will of the people and our constitution, as well as on the institution of marriage." The Supreme Court is also set to hear a challenge to the marriage amendment from Bill McConkey, a Door County resident whose daughter is gay, and who has argued that the amendment was improperly put to voters.
Note: Amendments can only contain one issue at a time, like "marriage is between a man and a woman," and not an additional separate rule banning substantially similar arrangements. But what makes this case so important?
Wisconsin is the first state in the country to have enacted legal recognition of same-sex couples while also having a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions.

Under the guise of defending marriage, the secernate supremacists have never battled against heterosexual cohabitation, the 50 year old real threat to marriage. Funny isn't it. The sexual revolution brought media attention to the issue of cohabitation, a time I remember well, spearheaded by feminism and later bringing about no fault marriages. I guess none of this was enough to create bigoted groups like WFA, which coincidentally came about with the rise of the "gay agenda."

Is Julaine Appling a bigot? Is she a lying homophobic zealot? The following video clip might offer a few clues:

And here's what One Wisconsin Now has to say about J.B. :
Van Hollen plays politics with flip-flop on domestic partner protections

'Complete Opposite' of Van Hollen Statements During 2006 Campaign "The Legislature or the governing body of a political subdivision or local governmental unit is not precluded from authorizing or requiring that a right or benefit traditionally associated with marriage be extended to two or more unmarried individuals; for example, family health insurance benefits, certain probate rights, or the ability to file joint tax returns." -- JB Van Hollen, 11/29/05

"But it's also clear that if elected [my opponent] intends to interpret the laws as she sees fit instead of executing the role of attorney general." -- JB Van Hollen, 11/29/05 Madison

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross issued the following statements following Attorney General JB Van Hollen's flip-flop on the right of the legislature to authorize basic legal protections, such as hospital visitation rights, for domestic partners.

"Attorney General JB Van Hollen is a right-wing legal activist who uses his taxpayer-financed office to serve his partisan political agenda. This abrupt flip flop on domestic partner benefits that he insisted during his campaign for Attorney General were legal, is the latest abuse of his office which includes his partisan lawsuit filed for the Republican Party of Wisconsin to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters in 2008.

Candidate Van Hollen promised that domestic partner protections were legal. Candidate Van Hollen promised he'd defend the state of Wisconsin. Attorney General Van Hollen has broken both of those promises."


  1. Taking a philosophical stand on an issue is one thing, but applying those personal beliefs into public office is quite another. I suppose there is a precedent for Van Hollen's position as Doyle refused a case or two when he was AG. But unless the law is obscure or obviously unenforceable (say a law from 1875 that punishes jaywalkers with 10 lashes in the public square) with strong opinions from a solid consensus, he clearly should have performed his duty. Instead, he plays politics. Van Hollen, Walker and Ryan are all cut from the same cloth. Before they finish trying to justify their position, they look for any opening to advance their career by taking a swipe at the other party.

    "When policy makers have ignored their words (of the people), I will not." -- Van Hollen

    He couldn't just make his statement without the take-down. Van Hollen is nothing more than a political hack masquerading as our attorney general.

  2. It's the Republican MO. Winning at all costs.

    Van Hollen's position on this major issue is so close to next years gubernatorial race it may not be just a coincidence.

    I'm inclined to think he's running. The AG office seems more an inconvenience and a platform for criticizing government than a non-partisan job for J.B.

  3. Here is an interesting excerpt from an Isthmus blog.

    What if the amendment is illegal, though? There's also a lawsuit currently pending that challenges the legality of the law because it allegedly violates the rule that you can't have a single vote for two or more issues. Wisconsin's marriage amendment does, in fact, appear to violate that rule by including the ban on gay marriage as well as a ban on "anything substantially similar" to marriage.