Wisconsin now offers limited Domestic Partnership benefits

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In an historic movement today, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed the state budget and along with it – Domestic Partnership protections for citizens as well as insurance rights for State employees.
For a state that has an existing constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and civil unions it is truly an historic day!  You can read the full budget here
The bill does not grant marriage equality or civil untions but it does allow protections for couples in a same-sex, caring and committed relationship.  As part of the Department of Health Services portion of the budget “The Governor recommends establishing a domestic partner registry maintained by county Registers of Deeds to allow for the registration of domestic partner relationships. Registered domestic partners would be extended certain dependent or survivor benefits for employee benefits, health and mental health and after-death decision making, probate matters, property matters, and motor vehicle titles.”
To further elaborate, these benefits would include:
– hospitial visitation rights
– end of life decision making
– ability to take Family Medical Leave (FMLA) to care for a sick/injured partner or non-biological/non-adopted child.
There is also an addition to the budget that allows state government workers as well as University of Wisconsin  faculty & staff to include domestic partners as part of group health insurance and retirement survivor benefits.
Wisconin is now the first state in the Midwest that has legislatively enacted protections for same-sex couples!  
What do we need to do to move Illinois forward?

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