I believe the antecedent act was the President's refusal to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, which went so far as to refuse to defend it in court when people sued to overturn it. Turnabout: fair play?
Democrats who controlled the Legislature in 2009 changed the law so that same-sex couples could sign up for domestic partnership registries with county clerks to secure some – but not all – of the rights afforded married couples.Now, in fairness, this is an occasion where I think the Democrats are on the right side. I favor the Alabama approach to the question of whether gay unions are "marriage," but this exact approach in how to resolve the question of dealing with just what those unions are. This is exactly what we should do: create a separate institution for non-marriage partnerships that can be judged by its own standards. Thus, if for example adultery should prove to be less of a concern in partnerships containing only men -- as many "same sex marriage" supporters openly proclaim -- we don't end up with a watering-down of the protections against adultery in traditional marriages. (If anything, those are far too watery already.) Let them do the things they want, just keep a distinction so we aren't forced to collapse the categories when we come before courts of law. It's only sensible to believe that the needs of these kinds of unions might come apart, so we ought to have the ability to address that in the law.
Wisconsin Family Action sued last year in Dane County circuit court, arguing that the registries violated a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans gay marriage and any arrangement that is substantially similar.
Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen refused to defend the lawsuit, saying he agreed the new law violated the state constitution. Then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, hired Madison attorney Lester Pines to defend the state.
Walker, a Republican, replaced Doyle in January and fired Pines in March. On Friday, Walker filed a motion to stop defending the case.
“Governor Walker, in deference to the legal opinion of the attorney general that the domestic partner registry…is unconstitutional, does not believe the public interest requires a continued defense of this law,” says the brief, filed by Walker’s chief counsel, Brian Hagedorn.
Still, whether you're for this or against it, what I want to point out is that it is the same refusal to defend a law that we (rightly, I think) railed about as a failure of duty on behalf of any executive. If you're the chief executive and your oath includes enforcing the laws faithfully, you ought to do that. If you don't like the law, you could always resign and run for the legislature -- or just use the bully pulpit to suggest changes from the legislature. Making law is not your department.
The same issue is about to come around again, regarding this 'executive amnesty,' so it's a good time to decide if there's a principle worth defending here or not.