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City leaders to
protest same-sex marriage ban

City leaders to
protest same-sex marriage ban

City leaders in Madison, Wis., will vow to uphold the state constitution when they are sworn into office in April but with a caveat: Many plan to add a statement protesting the state's new same-sex marriage ban. The city council voted 14-4 Tuesday night to let hundreds of elected and appointed city officials opt to add a statement saying they are taking the oath of office under protest because the amendment "besmirches our constitution." The statement also says the leaders will work to reverse the ban and prevent any discriminatory effects it may cause. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz as well as several council members already have said they intend to use the statement. "Voters of this city are going to be very happy to know that their elected officials are as committed to reversing discrimination as they are," said city council president Austin King. The ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions passed with 59% of the statewide vote in November. But 76% of voters in Madison, the state capital, voted against the amendment. Critics said the protest sends a dangerous signal that city officials will only uphold the parts of the constitution they support. "You take an oath to affirm a system of government where elected leaders follow the law and not their own personal whims. This flies in the face of that principle," said council member Jed Sanborn, who voted against the ban but found it inappropriate to tinker with the oath. City attorney Michael May said the oath itself cannot be changed under state law, but he believes the protest is legal because it is a political statement separate from the oath, similar to an inaugural address. The Family Research Institute of Wisconsin, a social conservative group that supported the ban, disagreed and said it was researching ways to halt the protest. "That logic is fundamentally flawed and shows they are willing to cross questionable legal boundaries to satisfy their personal convictions," said CEO Julaine Appling. (Ryan J. Foley, AP)

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