First Comes Windsor, Then Comes Marriage: What It Means for Wisconsin Same-Sex Couples

At noon on March 25, 2014, at the Madison Club, Attorney Tamara Packard will discuss last summer’s United States Supreme Court decision United States v. Windsor and how that decision and its application affects same-sex couples in Wisconsin.  In Windsor, the Court found Section 3 of the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined the terms “marriage” and “spouse” under Federal law to exclude same-sex couples, to violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.  As a result of that ruling, the marriages of same-sex couples are now largely recognized by Federal authorities.  This is not the case, however, as to Wisconsin authorities, resulting in a complex web where same-sex couples are married for many purposes, but not for some.  The aim of this presentation is to flag for practitioners key effects of this second-class treatment of the legal marriages of Wisconsin same-sex couples in a variety of practice areas, ranging from employment to litigation to death, taxes and more.  

Tamara Packard is a partner in Cullen Weston Pines & Bach LLP, where she practices civil litigation, primarily employment.  She also has had the good fortune to be involved in recent key civil rights litigation, including defending Wisconsin’s Domestic Partnership Registry, challenging the 2006 “Marriage Amendment” to the Wisconsin Constitution, and challenging the Voter ID law.  Tamara graduated from Oberlin College in 1990 and from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1994, and is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America.  She co-teaches the Sexual Orientation and the Constitution seminar at the UW Law School, and was President of the Board of Directors of the Fair Wisconsin Education Fund while the “Marriage Amendment” was debated and adopted.  In June, Tamara and her same-sex fiancé will be legally wed.