- Associated Press - Monday, August 25, 2014
Health-care fears loom large in gay marriage cases

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - When Niki Quasney felt a piercing pain in her ribcage in March, the oncologist treating her advanced ovarian cancer told her to get to an emergency room immediately.

But instead of making the short drive to a hospital near her home in Munster, Indiana, she drove alone for more than 40 minutes to one in neighboring Illinois. Quasney said she was “terrified” her local hospital might not allow her and her partner of more than 13 years, whom she wed last year in another state, to be together if she suffered a health emergency.

Quasney and her partner, Amy Sandler, are among dozens of couples challenging Indiana’s and Wisconsin’s gay marriage bans in a case being heard Tuesday in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. Looming large in the case is the issue of medical emergencies faced by same-sex couples.

The couples are suing for the right to marry or to have their out-of-state marriages recognized in their home states. They argue that powers of attorney and domestic partner registries don’t guarantee they’ll be allowed to make critical end-of-life or life-saving decisions. No legal document, they say, can provide the same protections as a marriage certificate.

Judi Trampf said that became clear when her partner of 25 years, Katy Heyning, suffered a seizure in New Orleans several years ago. The Madison, Wisconsin, couple had health care powers-of-attorney allowing each other to make medical decisions for the other, but that paperwork was at home.

Trampf told hospital workers Heyning was her domestic partner, but she said they refused to allow her to make any decisions without the documents. When Trampf tried to answer questions for Heyning, who was having trouble responding after regaining consciousness, the hospital staff ignored her.

“That’s when I realized I really didn’t have any rights in the situation,” Trampf said in a recent telephone interview. “Heterosexual couples don’t have to pull out anything.”


Tornado watch for much of metro, central Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for a large swath of Minnesota counties - stretching from the Twin Cities into northern Minnesota.

Some areas of western Wisconsin are also affected.

Forecasters say the watch remains in effect until 11 p.m. Sunday. They say conditions are favorable for tornadoes.

The watch includes the Twin Cities, and stretches up to Lake of the Woods, Beltrami and Kanabec counties. Stearns, Sherburne, Itasca and Pine counties are also affected.

Burnett, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin are also under the watch.


Gender matters as 2 women top Democratic ticket

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Democrat Mary Burke is the first woman to win a major party nomination for Wisconsin governor, but you wouldn’t know that from her campaign. She rarely strays from her main message of job creation.

Political scientist Richard Matland says that’s likely a smart move given the tight race against Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Matland says that while Democrats like to say Walker has “a woman problem,” Burke has “a man problem.”

He says men who might once have voted Democrat as part of labor unions have gravitated in recent years to the GOP.

Matland says Burke touting her business experience at Trek Bicycle Corp. could alleviate concerns among some swing voters who might otherwise see her as too liberal.

Recent polls show Burke locked in a dead heat with Walker.


Men, women and Wisconsin politics: A closer look

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Democrat Mary Burke is the first woman to win a major party nomination for governor in Wisconsin. She shares a ticket with Susan Happ, who defeated two men for her party’s nomination for attorney general. And on the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is running for a second term.

With women in high positions on the November ballot, here are a few things to know about gender and its role in politics:



In general, women tend to be more liberal in their political beliefs than men, said Richard Matland, a political scientist and visiting scholar at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Women are more likely than men to believe that government can and should help people with such things as finding jobs and obtaining health care, he said. In foreign policy, women tend to be less interventionist than men and express greater skepticism about military action.

But there’s one area in which men and women don’t differ: abortion.

“Men and women are split almost exactly the same on abortion questions, now there’s some argument that women are more intense on the pro-side … but if you just ask public opinion polling, women and men tend to be pretty much equal on that,” Matland said.

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