NewsFri Jul 7, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST
Wisconsin Appeals Court: Marriage Relationships no Better than any other Intimate Relationship
By Hilary White
MADISON, July 7, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Wisconsin court of appeals has ruled that marriage has no higher value to society than any other kind of relationship.
The case began when Duane Heath was arrested and convicted of leading police on a high-speed chase. At his sentencing, he asked for a work release so he could be near his family, a woman to whom he is not married, and their two children. The judge, however, questioned Heath’s dedication to this family saying, “I wonder how committed to your children you are and especially this woman when you’re not willing to make the commitment of marriage.”
Racine County Judge Dennis Barry then cited a state law that says marriage is “the foundation of the family and of society.” Heath was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
But the 2nd Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the trial judge erred in his statement and that “the foundation of the family and of society” does not elevate marriage over other relationships.
“We do not read the legislature’s recognition that marriage is an important and vital societal institution worthy of preservation and protection as a policy judgment that other intimate relationships are of lesser value or legitimacy,” Judge Richard Brown wrote for the 2nd District Court of Appeals. “It does not attempt to privilege marriage over other intimate relationships.”
Some have touted this as a boost to the gay “marriage” lobby.
Lorri Pickens, campaign manager for Vote Yes for Marriage is worried that the ruling is the thin edge of the ideological wedge. “They are beginning to go down the path of doing exactly what happened in Massachusetts,” said Pickens. “They are beginning to go down that road of redefining marriage.”