DOMA Passes Key Wisconsin Committee

Fri. September 12, 2003 12:00 AM by

Madison, Wisconsin - Legislation that would define marriage as a contract between a man and a woman was approved unanimously Thursday by the Judiciary Committee of the Wisconsin state legislature. The 6-0 vote means the so-called Defense of Marriage Act now goes directly to the Assembly floor for a vote.

The committee voted on the Republican-authored bill without discussion. The bill, if enacted, would make same-sex marriage illegal and prevent the state from recognizing gay marriages or civil unions performed elsewhere.

"It's kind of like being knocked down and you're on the ground and then ran over again," said Tim O'Brien, president of Action Wisconsin, a statewide gay rights group.

State law already prevents gays from marrying. The law defines marriage as a contract between a husband and wife. But, the author of the DOMA, Rep. Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin) said the existing law is too vague.

Gundrum says judges could interpret that language too loosely.

Similar legislation is working its way through the state Senate.

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