Many LGBT people travel to states where marriage is legal to tie the knot. Thanks to the fall of DOMA, marriage now accrues federal rights and benefits. It's hard to return to a state that doesn't recognize them, but at least they have some protections.
But in Wisconsin, that's illegal. They have a statute making it a crime for a gay couple to get married somewhere else. And now, someone is going to litigate.
The litigation seeks not only to overturn the state’s 2006 constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, but also to enjoin state official from enforcing a “marriage evasion law” prohibiting couples — gay and straight — from going elsewhere to marry if the marriage would be prohibited in the state.
The penalties of violating the marriage evasion law in Wisconsin, which is the only state to have such a statute, include up to $10,000 in fines and nine months in prison.
The marriage evasion law is particularly problematic for same-sex couples in Wisconsin because the Obama administration in most cases has elected to recognize same-sex marriages even if the state doesn’t recognize them — provided these couples are able to marry in a jurisdiction that allows it.
John Knight, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT project, called the marriage evasion law a “Catch-22″ for same-sex couples living in Wisconsin who want to marry.
“Wisconsin is unique in that sense, and so we think that argument particularly exemplifies the harm or the animus toward same-sex couples in some parts of the country,” Knight said.How can that be considered anything other than rawest animus?