Defense of Marriage Act ruling has local impact

Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act has an immediate impact on states like Minnesota and Iowa, which have legalized same-sex marriage.

All married couples in those states, whether they’re heterosexual or same-sex, will now enjoy the same federal benefits.

But in states like Wisconsin, which have not legalized same-sex marriage, there is no change. The states still individually choose whether to legalize same-sex marriage or not.

If Wisconsin does eventually legalize same-sex marriage, those couples would be granted the same federal benefits as straight married couples.

Board President of the LGBT Resource Center of the Seven Rivers Region, Cindy Killion, didn’t think she’d get to see this day.

“I would have never expected this to happen within my lifetime,” said Killion.

Killion has been with her partner for 17 years. They plan on moving from Wisconsin to Minnesota so they can get married.


“This makes the pot sweeter when we move to Minnesota because now we get everything that any legally married heterosexual couple gets in terms of state benefits and federal benefits,” said Killion. “Now, we have the financial security to take care of each other as we age or in case one of us dies, which we never had that before.”

“Marriage is not a human invention. And therefore marriage, as such, cannot be redefined or refabricated by human governments,” said Bishop William Patrick Callahan of the La Crosse Diocese.

Callahan said redefining marriage is an overreach. There are plenty of people out there who feel the same way, but he said it’s become a struggle to have their beliefs understood without them getting written off as bigotry.

“There is not going to be an easy way that we are going to present this without sounding as though we are discriminatory or hateful in some way. And that’s a big problem,” said Callahan.

Killion says same-sex marriage is unlikely to come to Wisconsin anytime soon.

“The political landscape in Wisconsin does not bode well for same-sex couples,” said Killion.

She’s not willing to wait around.