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Wisconsin LGBTQ lawmakers pitch same-sex marriage constitutional change

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(The Center Square) – Gay lawmakers in Wisconsin want to change the state’s constitution to recognize same sex marriage.

The legislature’s LGBTQ+ Caucus on Wednesday introduced two plans, one to amend the state constitution and another to remove references to “husbands and wives” from various state laws that deal with marriage.

“It is long past time for our state constitution and state statutes to reflect that marriage equality is the law of the land and has been now for nearly a decade,” Sen. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit told reporters at the Capitol.

Spreitzer, who is both openly gay and married, said it would be symbolic to update the Wisconsin Constitution just ahead of the 20-year mark of the 2006 constitutional amendment that defined marriages as between a man and a woman.

“2026 would be the 20-year anniversary of this discriminatory language being in our state constitution. And if we act now, if we pass this constitutional amendment on first consideration this legislative session, we have the opportunity to let the people of Wisconsin repeal it before we hit that embarrassing 20-year anniversary,” Spreitzer added.

Same sex marriage has been legal since 2014 when the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down that amendment. Same sex marriage became legal across the entire country one year later when the United States Supreme Court issued the Obergefell ruling.

Same sex marriage became even more legal last year when President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act.

Still, Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, said Wisconsin’s constitution and state statutes need to be updated.

“It’s time to remove the graffiti from our state constitution by removing Article 13, section 13,” Carpenter said. “And I think it would be a great step to try and let people know that everyone is invited and welcome here in the state of Wisconsin.”

There may also be some political strategy to the proposed constitutional amendment.

“We’re passing all sorts of other constitutional amendments about issues, it’s time to pass a constitutional amendment that brings back a person’s civil rights,” Carpenter added.

Last month, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate approved two proposed constitutional amendments on voting. One would enshrine voter ID in the state constitution, and the other would make sure that only American citizens who are 18-year-old or old can vote.

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