Marriage Equality USA

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Current Status

  • Civil marriage equality in effect at the state level since October 2014. (Same-sex couples may legally marry.)


  • Since 1979, statute 765.01 has defined marriage as: Marriage, so far as its validity at law is concerned, is a civil contract, to which the consent of the parties capable in law of contracting is essential, and which creates the legal status of husband and wife.
  • In 1982 Wisconsin was the first state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, credit and all public accommodations.
  • In 2001, Wisconsin legislators passed a law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in any school setting.
  • Since 2002, Wisconsin hate crimes law has punished violence based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity.
  • In 2003, legislation banning same-sex marriage was passed by the Wisconsin legislature. Governor Jim Doyle vetoed it and the Assembly failed to override the Governor's veto by one vote, on November 12.
  • In 2006, an amendment to the state constitution was passed banning same-sex marriage and prohibiting the establishment of any similar legal status under another name.
  • Since 2009, Wisconsin statute 770 has provided domestic partnerships (with limited rights) to same-sex couples.
  • In 2012, Wisconsin became the first state to have an LGBT U.S Senator, Democrat Tammy Baldwin.