A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Wisconsin has passed the state Senate and is headed to the Assembly, where it faces a tricky climb through a GOP-led House.
The measure, SB5, would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and establish civil unions for married same-gender couples, a measure that would also require the state’s largest employers to allow same-person marriage.
But the measure faces an uphill battle in the House, where Democrats are expected to support the bill.
It is not clear whether the measure would get the votes needed to pass in both chambers.
If it does, the bill would likely face an uphill climb in the GOP-controlled Legislature, where Republicans have a strong majority.SB5 would make Wisconsin the 23rd state to legalize gay marriage, joining California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Utah.
It’s not clear how many people would be allowed to marry under the bill, which has no exceptions for the health and well-being of children.
Under the bill’s proposed definition of marriage as the union of a man, a woman, and a person of the same gender, any union of two people could legally be dissolved by divorce or by death.
Marriage licenses would be issued for same- and opposite-sex couples.
The licenses would not be issued to couples who are legally married in another state.SB 5 is not a referendum measure.
Its only sponsor, Rep. Dan Schnatter, D-Mountain View, is a Democrat.
He said he wants to see SB 5 pass.
SB 5 passed the Senate in 2015 by a 56-41 vote, but has been mired in controversy since then.
Supporters of the bill say the measure will help protect the right of same-Sex couples to marry and to have their rights recognized.
Critics of the measure say it will give employers a reason to discriminate against same- sex couples.SB 4, the measure to allow marriage in a state that doesn’t recognize it, has been proposed for years by the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same- gender marriage.
The National Organization of Marriage has said it opposes same sex marriage and would sue the state if SB 5 passes.
The legislation also would not apply to the state of Washington, which legalized same- Sex marriage in 2012.