FOX47 NEWS - Same-Sex Couples in Limbo

Jeff Angileri
May 31, 2009, 6:47 PM

Same sex couples say it's a frustrating and confusing time, with courts in different states issuing different decisions about marriage, and the benefits that go along with it.

We've been in a relationship for 21 years now, said Cathy Cox, of Madison. We've been married for less than one, said partner Kim Whalen.

Whalen and Cox are one of 18,000 same sex couples who wed in California when it was legal. That was before voters banned it in November.

And now, with the California Supreme Court upholding the ban last week, Kim and Kathy are left wondering.

Who knows what's going to happen, Whalen said. We're married in California, but we're not married anywhere else. It's kind of like we're in limbo.

The contradictions don't end on the west coast. In Wisconsin, a judge ruled Friday, that same-sex partners of state employees are not eligible for health benefits. Just one week earlier, the Joint Finance Committee, working on the state budget, approved benefits for domestic partners. If passed, the coverage would take effect in 2011.

This is gonna level the playing field and make it equal for everyone, Cox said. Keep in mind this is not just a same-sex issue. This is also for opposite sex people as well who choose not to get married, but they can still benefit from the domestic partner provision.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will soon take up the ballot question that created the amendment for Wisconsin's gay marriage ban, and whether it was illegally two questions in one. Kim Whalen and Kathy Cox are hoping for a different outcome than what happened in California.

Said Whalen, It's recognizing that we're a couple, but also recognizing that there's some rights that maybe we should have that we're being denied.

Critics of the domestic partner provision say this is not the time to expand state benefits to a new group, given Wisconsin's $6.6 billion budget deficit.

Others believe extending benefits to same-sex couples goes against voters, the majority of whom who supported a gay marriage ban in 2006.

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