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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    February 01, 2014


    How to submit Letters to the Editor: Wisconsin Lawyer provides a forum for members to express ideas, concerns, and opinions on law-related subjects. Limit to 500 words; writing guidelines available. Submit to Wisconsin Lawyer “Letters,” P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158; or (include “Letters” in the subject line).

    wedding flowersMore States Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage

    The number of states recognizing same-sex marriage continues to grow at a rapid pace. Since my article “Federal Benefits for Married Same-Sex Couples” was published (Jan. 2014), New Mexico and Utah were added to the list of states granting same-sex marriage. The New Mexico Supreme Court held that the state’s marriage laws require the recognition of same-sex marriages, whereas a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Utah’s state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage violated gay men and lesbians’ fundamental right to marriage under the U.S. Constitution. [Editor’s Note: The U.S. Supreme Court has halted same-sex marriages in Utah while the state appeals the federal district court’s ruling that had legalized the unions. While the state does not recognize these unions as legal, the federal government does, making nearly 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah eligible for many federal benefits of marriage.]

    Most applicable to Wisconsin is the Utah decision. Utah voters passed a referendum in 2004 amending their state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage as well as any other legal status substantially similar to marriage. Wisconsin followed a similar path by passing article XIII, sec. 13, the “Marriage Amendment,” to our state constitution in 2006. The Utah decision, at a minimum, offers a legal argument and analysis of how the Wisconsin “Marriage Amendment” may not survive scrutiny under the U.S. Constitution. Legal scholars and attorneys following this issue anticipate the issue of a national right to same-sex marriage will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court within the next three to five years.

    Christopher S. Krimmer, Partner
    Balisle & Roberson S.C., Madison

    How Attorneys Underearn

    Thanks so much for publishing my article “How Attorneys Underearn … And What You Can Do About It” (Nov. 2013). Apparently some of your readers recognized themselves in this article because the emails keep coming in. From an attorney who barters services in exchange for chickens, to the attorney carrying a $135,000 balance on a business line of credit – the problem is real and it’s widespread. In fact, I’ve never met an attorney who isn’t underearning in one way or another. Thanks for alerting Wisconsin lawyers to the behaviors and habits that lead to underearning. Hopefully, a few lives have been changed with this article!

    Ann M. Guinn, Principal
    G&P Associates, Kent, Wash.

    More Lawyer License Plates

    The number of specialty Wisconsin license plates that are tied to lawyers or judges, first listed in “Briefly” (Nov. 2013) and updated in “Inbox” (Dec. 2013), continues to grow.

    Milwaukee attorney Patricia Zeeh Risser’s plate is IM Z LAW.

    Atty. Dennis Grzezinski, Milwaukee, focuses on environmental law. His endangered-species plate is ENVLAW.

    Atty. Ronald E. Kissinger, Fort Atkinson, drives a 1990 Mazda Miata with license plate LAW WON.

    Did we miss yours? Email us at or post a comment below.

    Wisconsin Lawyer editors

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