MADISON, Wis. – Gov. Jim Doyle (search) vetoed a bill Friday that would define marriage in Wisconsin as solely between one man and one woman, saying state law already clearly prohibits same-sex marriage (search) and the legislation was "mean-spirited."
State law now defines marriage as a contract between a husband and wife. But supporters said the bill was needed to ensure gay marriage would not be allowed or recognized in Wisconsin.
They warned activist judges could interpret existing statutes loosele bill 68-29 last month and the Senate passed it 22-10 Wednesday night. It would require a two-thirds vote by both houses to override the veto.
That would be 66 votes in the Assembly and 22 in the Senate.
The bill has outraged gay and lesbian groups, who say state law already makes it clear they cannot marry and the legislation is only meant to antagonize them.
The legislation would also require that only marriages between one man and one woman would be recognized as valid under Wisconsin law, regardless of the laws governing marriage in the jurisdiction where the marriage was approved.
No state currently allows gay marriage, though Vermont allows civil unions (search) between gays and California recently enacted legislation creating new rights for domestic partners. Two Canadian provinces have also legalized gay marriage.
Courts in Indiana, New Jersey and Massachusetts are considering lawsuits seeking to legalize gay marriages.