Walker opposition unchanged despite relative’s same-sex marriage

CREATED Jul 8, 2014

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NEW BERLIN – Governor Scott Walker says he maintains his opposition to gay marriage, despite his family’s participation in a lesbian couple’s wedding ceremony.

“Everybody in my family was there except me,” Walker told reporters.

Walker toured a New Berlin company that manufactures wrist bands on Tuesday.  While the Republican touted his record on job growth in his remarks, reporter questions focused on a gay couple’s recent marriage at the Waukesha County Courthouse.  One of the women involved is first lady Tonette Walker's cousin.

While the governor says he cares for the couple, he says his position against gay marriage has not changed.  Walker also insists he does not have the standing to change the ban.

“This is in the state’s constitution,” Walker said.  “There are only two ways it can be altered, neither of them have anything to do with the governor.”

The governor said the only methods the constitutional ban can be changed is by the courts or statewide vote.

Christopher Ahmuty, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, contends the governor does have influence to allow gay couple’s to marry.  Ahmuty said Walker could urge the Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to drop the appeal on a federal judge’s ruling that overturned the state’s gay marriage ban.

“That’s dead wrong,” Ahmuty said.  “He could walk across the corridor, across the rotunda of the State Capitol and go into the attorney general’s office and say, enough is enough, I realize we’ve been harming couples, we’re not going to do that anymore.”

Gay marriage was allowed in select Wisconsin counties for a few days earlier this summer.  Issuing gay marriage licenses is on hold statewide pending that anticipated court appeal.

Walker said he was in New York at the time of the relative’s courthouse marriage ceremony.  The governor’s 18-year-old son, Alex, signed the couple’s marriage certificate as a witness.