On June 20, 2011, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Daniel R. Moeser ruled that Wis. Stat. Chapter 770, which legalized registries for same-sex couples, does not grant legal status to domestic partners that are identical or substantially similar to marriage. The Court reasoned that “the State does not recognize domestic partnership in a way that even remotely resembles how the State recognizes the marriage.” A case is currently pending, brought by Wisconsin Family Action, challenging Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on both marriage and a “legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage” for same-sex couples. This decision will be subject to appeals, ultimately to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
In June 2009 former Governor Jim Doyle, as part of the State budget, approved partnership benefits for qualifying couples, including allowing domestic partners to take family and medical leave to care for a seriously ill partner, make an end of life decisions, and to have hospital visitation rights.