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“Just Who do We Think We Are?”

Appling v. Walker

Last Updated 7/21/2022

What's at stake

Affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Promoting the importance of both mothers and fathers.

Protecting the voters’ rights to direct social policy concerning marriage and family.


Wisconsin voters adopted an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman and forbids the recognition of any “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage.”  In direct violation of Wisconsin’s marriage amendment, lawmakers enacted into law a marriage-like domestic partnership scheme.  Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies filed a legal challenge to the domestic partnership law in Wisconsin state court on behalf of Wisconsin taxpayers.

A domestic partnership is clearly designed to imitate a marriage, and the requirements to enter into a domestic partnership in Wisconsin are virtually identical to those of marriage.  But both a Wisconsin trial court and the state court of appeals ruled that a domestic partnership is not a “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage.”  So Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies took the case all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case in October 2013.  Alliance Defending Freedom explained to the court that Wisconsin’s domestic partnership scheme is unconstitutional.  A decision in the case could come at any time.      

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies filed a lawsuit to defend Wisconsin’s marriage amendment when state officials violated that law by enacting a domestic partnership scheme.

Legal Documents

State Supreme Court
State Supreme Court
State Supreme Court
State Supreme Court
Appellate Court
Trial Court

Additional Resources


Video: Wis. Supreme Court oral arguments: Appling v. Walker (2013-10-23)