‘Douche du Jour’: Same-Sex Couples’ Hospital Visitation Rights Under Attack by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending a law that grants hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Walker, a Republican best known for his union-busting, believes the law is unconstitutional. A Democrat-controlled state legislature changed existing law in 2009 to allow same-sex couples to sign up for domestic partner registries with county clerks so they could enjoy some of the rights that married couples take for granted. Among these are the right to take family and medical leave to care for seriously ill partners, to make end-of-life decisions, and have hospital visitation rights.
According to the Journal Sentinel, around 1,500 same-sex couples have registered with their county clerks.
But Walker, who cites the 2006 voter initiative that banned same-sex marriage and any “legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage,” does not want to have to defend the registry law. “Governor Walker, in deference to the legal opinion of the attorney general that the domestic partner registry… is unconstitutional, does not believe the public interest requires a continued defense of this law,” the brief filed by Brian Hagedorn, Walker’s chief counsel, says.
Wisconsin Family Action, an anti-gay group heavily influenced by so-called “Judeo-Christian values,” filed suit last year, arguing that the registries were in violation of the state constitution. The state’s Republican attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, refused to defend the registry law. Apparently his socially conservative, discriminatory agenda was more important to Van Hollen than upholding the rule of law. Luckily, then-governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat, hired attorney Lester Pines to defend the registry law.
Now, Walker has fired Pines and wants to turn back the clock on hard-earned civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Wisconsinites and strip them of the right to visit their sick and dying partners in the state’s hospitals. It takes a special kind of douchebag, a particularly hateful breed, to want to deny soul mates from being together in the final moments of life. Scott Walker, you are that douchebag.
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