BY Christopher Mangum
November 03 2009 1:20 PM ET
The Wisconsin supreme court heard arguments on Tuesday in a case that
charges the 2006 referendum that banned same-sex marriage and civil
unions was unconstitutional.
The plaintiff, William McConkey, believes the question put to voters in Referendum 1 violated the single-subject law in article XII, section 1 of the Wisconsin constitution.
The referendum stated, “Shall section 13 of article XIII of the constitution be created to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state and that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state?”
"The real issue today is, as voters is, did we have a right to vote on both questions, and we didn't," said McConkey, reports local Fox affiliate WLUK-TV. "That’s the single-subject or the single-purpose rule that was debated here today. They didn't give us a choice."
McConkey's daughter is a lesbian, and he says that is why he is fighting the wording of the referendum. "This isn't a cultural question, this is a constitutional question," added McConkey, who is straight. "If we start to go down the road where a simple majority of one vote can pick out a group of people and strip them of their constitutional rights, then we're really in trouble as a nation."
However, assistant attorney general Lewis Beilin claims that the two parts of the question were closely related and the constitution was correctly amended.
The Wisconsin supreme court is expected to rule by summer.