- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gay marriage has been legal in Wisconsin for months, but supporters still trumpeted a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Friday legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide with relief and joy, saying it cements same-sex unions in the state.

Eight same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit last year challenging Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. They prevailed in October after the Supreme Court declined to review an appellate decision declaring the ban unconstitutional.

But they were still wary of what the Supreme Court might do on the broader issue. Friday’s ruling put those fears to rest.

“I’m very happy that they see (same-sex marriage) as a fundamental right and I’m ecstatic that we don’t have to worry about our marriage anymore,” said Judi Trampf of Madison. Trampf and her partner, Katy Heyning, were one of eight gay couples who launched the lawsuit last year that led to the end of Wisconsin’s ban. They tied the knot in January. “I could never bet on the Supreme Court until they ruled. I’m just ecstatic.”

The ruling also could bolster ongoing legal fights to force the state to include both names of married same-sex couples on their children’s birth certificates.

Two of those who brought the gay marriage ban challenge, Kami Young and Karina Willes of Milwaukee, have filed a federal action seeking to make the state include Willes’ name on their daughter’s birth certificate. A gay Madison couple, Chelsea and Jessamy Torres, have filed a lawsuit seeking to get Jessamy’s name on their son’s birth certificate.

Kyle Anthony Palazzo, one of the Torres’ attorneys, noted that Friday’s ruling includes language that mentions birth certificates as a key aspect of marital status.

“This is very encouraging,” he said. “Our case is really about the fact that same-sex couples should have the same rights and benefits as (opposite-sex) couples.”

The state Department of Justice contends that the original ruling overturning the ban didn’t address birth certificates. DOJ spokeswoman Anne Schwartz said the agency is reviewing the high court’s ruling.

The decision has left gay marriage opponents seething.

Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, said the Supreme Court lacks the authority to define marriage for the entire nation and states should be free to create their own laws as they see fit. He accused the high court of bowing to public pressure to legalize same-sex marriage.

“This decision will never be accepted by a large share of the American public,” he said.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a likely 2016 presidential candidate who voted for the gay marriage ban when he served in the state Assembly, warned the decision could infringe on people’s religious rights. He said in a statement he would protect those rights but didn’t elaborate on how he would do that.

Bishop David L. Ricken, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, said the decision redefined the country’s law on marriage, but it couldn’t redefine marriage as God created it between a man and a woman.

Julaine Appling, leader of Wisconsin Family Action, a group that works to uphold conservative values, said the court exceeded its authority.

“The (U.S. Constitution) is silent on marriage but the court has decided that they know better,” Appling said. “This isn’t about love. This is about the institution of marriage.”

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