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Same Sex Marriage Ruling Brings Certainty for Some

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Same sex marriage is now legal in every state across the country. The U.S. Supreme Court made it so on Friday. In Wisconsin, due to court decisions, same-sex marriage has been the lay of the land for nearly a year. 

The courts overturned the ban state voters had approved. While reaction to today’s decision is mixed – Gov. Walker called it a ‘grave mistake’, we caught up with several local people directly affected.

Bill Hurtubise-Palmer and his partner have been together for nine years, and on April 25, they made it official.

“We knew we wanted to get married, and the marriage was for love and legal protections for our family,” Hurtubise-Palmer says.

Hurtubise-Palmer and his husband adopted three children over the years. He says the fact that his family will now be legally recognized across the country is something he didn’t expect so soon.

“The idea that we can travel or move and our marriage will be recognized in any state is just something that we thought was way down the road. And we’re just very excited that it’s happening in 2015,” Hurtubise-Palmer says.

In one Wisconsin case that went to court, the same-sex spouses fought to include both their names on their child’s birth certificate. The state had refused. Now all states must adhere to the new law of the land and recognize full marriage rights of same-sex couples.

Karen Gotzler is executive director of Milwaukee’s LGBT Community Center. She says those rights go well beyond just being able to get married.

“Couples are able to get married and now, more importantly be able to adopt each other’s children or be able to adopt jointly. And then also for those of us who have disabilities or are older, to be able to be married to our partner so that after one of the partners dies the other partner is able to take advantage of their benefits,” Gotzler says.

Gotzler says the newly-affirmed marriage rights also come with responsibilities. She says she knows of a few same sex couples who rushed to get married when the window opened in Wisconsin, and didn’t fully think through their decision.

“ I do think that there were some couples who thought this is great and we’re going to run down to the court house and get married, and maybe didn’t get the best legal and financial advice about how to set up their relationship ahead of time,” Gotzler says.

Now, perhaps there might be less of a rush, because of the certainty that same-sex marriage is the law of the land.

LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.
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