100-year-old law could punish same-sex couples

July 9, 2008 3:13:27 PM PDT
A nearly 100-year-old Wisconsin law could mean same-sex couples who leave the state to be married could face fines and jail time if they return.The law was originally aimed at stopping underage couples from going out-of-state to get married. Now, a group called the Family Council says the law's language also makes it applicable to same-sex marriages.

Offending couples could face $10,000 fines, nine months in prison or both.

"To have a marriage that you know is illegal where you reside, and you have the intent of coming back to that state where its illegal, that's a defrauding of the government," said the Family Council Julaine Appling.

"[This] law has been around since 1915, which was five years before women got the right to vote," said Civil Rights advocate Glenn Carlson.

Prosecution of the law in any same-sex marriage cases would be up to the discretion of individual district attorneys.


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