Vol. 85, No. 10, October 2012
Same-sex Couples Should Be Cautious when Seeking Annulment
I would like to add a word of caution to one of the options I identified in my article, "The Gay Divorcee: Same-sex Divorce in Wisconsin" (July 2012). I briefly addressed the issue of annulment for same-sex couples. This option has been employed successfully; however, the attorney representing the petitioner may wish to advise the client of the marriage-evasion statute, Wis. Stat. section 765.30.
Although the law is rarely enforced, and never once in the context of same-sex marriage, an attorney who advises a client of the option to pursue an annulment should also inform the client of the remote possibility that a zealous district attorney could potentially pursue charges under the marriage-evasion statute, which makes it a crime, punishable by nine months' imprisonment or a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for a resident "to go outside of the state to contract a marriage prohibited or declared void under the laws of this state."
There are arguments that this statute would not apply in the context of same-sex marriage but those are only arguments at this point. The statute clearly does not apply to a same-sex couple who married in a state that grants same-sex marriages, while also being residents of that state, and then later moved to Wisconsin.
Christopher Krimmer, Balisle & Roberson S.C., Madison
Defendant's Right to Counsel at Risk
I applaud your article appropriately titled "SOS: Defendant's Right to Counsel" (August 2012). A subtitle for this article could have been: "Third degree of criminal defendants outside the presence of counsel now lawful." This excellent article, along with the President's Message in the May 2012 issue, warns of the continued strengthening of our government's power and the rapid weakening of our constitutional rights to defend against this.
I heartily commend you for exposing this threat, and would like to suggest that as a public service you also inform the general public of this through an op-ed or other article in major Wisconsin newspapers.
Owen S. Durigan, Paralegal, Brookfield