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Van Hollen Asks Court of Appeals to Affirm Circuit Courts Holding That The Marriage Amendment Was Properly Presented And Passed


MADISON Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen today filed a brief in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals asking the court to affirm Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard G. Niesss ruling in McConkey v. Van Hollen upholding the constitutionality of the legislatures presentation to voters of the November 2006 marriage amendment ballot question.


At issue before the Court of Appeals is whether the marriage amendment as submitted to and approved by the voters during the November 2006 elections met the State Constitutions requirements for amending the Constitution. In the circuit court, Judge Niess found that the marriage amendment ballot question did not violate the constitutional requirement that each ballot question contain only one amendment. Judge Niess found that the question was a single amendment because that the propositions contained in the text related to the same subject matter and were designed to accomplish the same general purpose. In response to McConkeys appeal, Van Hollen has asked the Court of Appeals to affirm Judge Niesss holding.


Van Hollen has also cross-appealed from Judge Niesss partial denial of a motion to dismiss McConkeys case. Van Hollen argued in the circuit court that McConkey was not personally injured by any alleged failure to present the propositions as separate questions, and therefore lacks standing to litigate the claim. Judge Niess held that McConkey did have standing to pursue his claim, and Van Hollen has asked the Court of Appeals to reverse that decision.


Assistant Attorney General Lewis Beilin represents the state in this appeal.