FOX47 NEWS - Same-Sex Marriage Law

Jeff Angileri
Jul 8, 2008, 9:19 PM

Same-sex couples across the country have been planning trips to California to get married, ever since it became legal.

For anyone that lives outside of California and Massachusetts, the marriages are not recognized.

In Wisconsin, those marriages are actually considered illegal.

One couple from the Madison area says they don't care that it's illegal.

Kathy Cox and Kim Whalen have been together for 20 years and say they're willing to take the risk.

Pioneers get the arrows and settlers get the land, we'll take a few arrows, said Kathy Cox.

The couple plans to get married this August in California, but once they return to Wisconsin, a nearly century old law says their marriage is not only invalid, but illegal.

The obscure law says it is a crime for any Wisconsin resident to enter marriage in another state if that marriage is illegal here.

Anyone that violates that law can be fined up to 10 thousand dollars and be sentenced to nine months in prison.

A group called Wisconsin Family Council said violators should be punished for fraud.

You purposely left the state for another state and you get married and you know it's not going to be legal where you reside and you have every intention of returning. That's defrauding the government, said Julaine Appling for the Wisconsin Family Council.

Fair Wisconsin e-mailed about 10 thousand members of the gay community to alert them about the obscure law.

The response they got back was a lot like what Cox and Whalen said, basically they would rather be prosecuted than persecuted.

Dane County's District Attorney has said prosecuting same-sex couples under the law would be a poor use of scarce resources.

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