ab475AB 475 - Vetoed in Full
State of Wisconsin
Office of the Governor

November 7, 2003

To the Honorable members of the Assembly:

I am vetoing AB 475 in its entirety. This bill purports to ban what existing state law already clearly prohibits: same sex-marriage. Specifically, AB 475 adds that marriage is between “one man and one woman”, even though current state statutes already define marriage as a civil contract between a “husband and wife”.

This bill is just another example of a 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. I have made it clear since the beginning of this debate that AB 475 is redundant and unnecessary. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has said unequivocally that marriage between a husband and a wife means nothing other than marriage between one man and one woman.

Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager issued an opinion calling AB 475 “legally indistinguishable from current state law”, and also said the legislation would “add nothing of substance to existing statutes”. I issued a similar opinion as Attorney General in 1997, and find nothing new in this legislation that warrants my support. It seems that nobody except members of the legislature are confused as to whether a husband is a man and a wife is a woman.

Again, I urge the legislative leadership to join me in focusing their attention on the real issues facing the citizens of Wisconsin, instead of wasting the taxpayers' time and money on divisive, partisan fights that accomplish nothing.

Respectfully submitted,