Milwaukee County Clerk will Start Issuing Domestic Partnerships for Opposite Sex Couples

Milwaukee County Clerk Joe Czarnezki announced Friday that he will immediately begin issuing domestic partnership declarations to opposite sex couples.

According to a release from the Clerk's office, the decision comes in the wake of an opinion on the subject from the Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel and follows naturally from the federal court rulings on same-sex marriage. 

“I have had a number of opposite sex couples ask to apply for a domestic partnership. I feel that these couples should be treated equally under the law and my legal counsel agrees,” Czarnezki said.

“Gender discrimination is not allowed in marriage, so it cannot be permitted for domestic partnerships,” Czarnezki added.

Milwaukee County Clerk Czarnezki also announced that he will be joined in this effort by Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell.

The legal opinion from the Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel Paul Bargren concludes, “In summary, the same equal protection analysis that led the federal courts to declare Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional applies to the attempt to limit domestic partnerships to same-sex couples. It is likewise unconstitutional.”

Couples who enter in a domestic partnership are afforded certain benefits, such as, qualifying for a partner’s health insurance coverage, assigning to a surviving partner interest in their home, and qualifying for family leave to care for a domestic partner.

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