Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle vetoed a bill Friday that would define marriage in Wisconsin as solely between one man and one woman, saying that state law already clearly prohibits same-sex marriage and the legislation was "mean-spirited." State law now defines marriage as a contract between a husband and wife. But supporters said another law was needed to ensure that gay marriage would not be allowed or recognized in Wisconsin. They warned that activist judges could interpret existing statutes loosely and redefine marriage to allow gay couples to wed. But Doyle said the bill was "redundant and unnecessary. This bill is just another example of the legislature focusing its time and energy on divisive, mean-spirited bills that do nothing to grow Wisconsin's economy, make health care more affordable and accessible, or improve our public schools."
The state assembly approved the bill 68-29 last month, and the senate passed it 22-10 on Wednesday. A two-thirds vote by both houses would be required to override the governor's veto. That would be 66 votes in the assembly and 22 in the senate, which is clearly attainable. The bill has outraged gay and lesbian groups, who say state law already makes it clear they cannot marry and that the legislation is meant only to antagonize them. The legislation would also require that only marriages between one man and one woman be recognized as valid under Wisconsin law, regardless of the laws governing marriage in the jurisdiction where the ceremony took place.