- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Elections board: Primary turnout was 12.7 percent

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Turnout for Wisconsin’s primary elections two weeks ago was even lower than state election officials predicated.

The state Government Accountability Board had predicted turnout would be 15 percent of eligible voters. The agency released figures Tuesday showing the official turnout for the Aug. 12 elections was 12.7 percent.

The GAB said 552,342 people cast votes out of a voting-age population of 4,348,307.

The primary races laced a top-tier statewide race. The most intriguing race was the three-way contest between Susan Happ, Jon Richards and Ismael Ozanne for the Democratic attorney general nomination. Happ won, earning the right to face Republican Brad Schimel in the Nov. 4 general election.

___

Judges blast Indiana, Wisconsin gay marriage bans

CHICAGO (AP) - Federal appeals judges bristled on Tuesday at arguments defending gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, with one Republican appointee comparing them to now-defunct laws that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.

As the legal skirmish in the United States over same-sex marriage shifted to the three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, more than 200 people lined up hours before to ensure they got a seat at the much-anticipated hearing.

While judges often play devil’s advocate during oral arguments, the panel’s often-blistering questions for the defenders of the same-sex marriage bans could be a signal the laws may be in trouble - at least at this step in the legal process.

Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, hit the backers of the ban the hardest. He balked when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson repeatedly pointed to “tradition” as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage.

“It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry - a tradition that got swept away,” the 75-year-old judge said. Prohibition of same sex marriage, Posner said, derives from “a tradition of hate … and savage discrimination” of homosexuals.

Attorneys general in both states asked the appellate court to permanently restore the bans, which were ruled unconstitutional in June. Its ruling could affect hundreds of couples who married after lower courts tossed the bans and before those rulings were stayed pending the Chicago appeal.

Gay marriage is legal in 19 states as well as the District of Columbia, and advocates have won more than 20 court victories around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages last year.

___

Challenges to gay marriage bans: Where they stand

State bans on same-sex marriages have been falling around the country since summer 2013, when the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The remaining state bans all face legal challenges, and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago heard arguments Tuesday on cases from Indiana and Wisconsin.

Gay couples can marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia. A look at where cases pending in other states stand:

___

- ARKANSAS: A state judge in May struck down the state’s ban. The state Supreme Court brought marriages to a halt and is weighing state officials’ appeal. Same-sex couples are also suing the state in federal court. The attorney general’s office has asked that proceedings in both cases be put on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to take up a case from Utah.

- COLORADO: Several county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in June despite the ban. A state judge struck down the ban July 9 but put the ruling on hold while the state appeals. On July 23, a federal judge also overturned the ban but issued a stay; a federal appeals court later extended the stay. The state Supreme Court on July 29 ordered all clerks to stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Republican Attorney General John Suthers says that he knows it’s only a matter of time until gay marriage is legal but that he’ll continue to defend the law.

- FLORIDA: A federal judge declared the state’s ban unconstitutional in mid-August, joining state judges in four counties. He issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples.

- HAWAII: Same-sex couples sued in 2011 to overturn the state’s ban. A federal court later upheld the ban, but then Legislature last year legalized gay marriage. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments in San Francisco on Sept. 8, the same day it will consider cases from Idaho and Nevada.

___

Indiana, Wisconsin couples in gay marriage case

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments Tuesday on gay marriage fights from Indiana and Wisconsin, setting the stage for one ruling. Each case deals with whether statewide gay marriage bans are constitutional.

For the couples challenging the bans, the fight is about fairness and the right to be treated like other couples. A look at some of the plaintiffs:

___

INDIANA:

Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney didn’t plan to get married until they could tie the knot in Indiana.

Cancer changed that.

The two women, inseparable since they met in 2000, were happy together as they moved around the country, finding acceptance in such places as St. Louis, Las Vegas and Chicago.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide