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State Supreme Court hears arguments on ending domestic partner registry

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Pro-family lawyers tried to convince the State Supreme Court Wednesday to end legal benefits for domestic same-sex partners. 

Members of the Wisconsin Family Action group finally got a hearing in its third effort to drop the domestic partner registry adopted by Democrats in 2009. 

The registry provides about 40 of the 200 benefits given to married couples -- things like the right to hospital visits, and end of life decisions.

The Family Action group says it goes against the state's seven-year-old constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions. Group attorney Austin Nimocks said the registry is "mimicking a blueprint of marriage." 

Lambda Legal attorney Christopher Clark says the registry is nothing like marriage. He said domestic partners do not enter civil contracts which are enforced in court like traditional marriages -- and the registry is not recognized in other states like marriage is. 

Justices asked the lawyers if they could eliminate qualifying requirements for the registry, and leave certain parts intact. Nimocks says it's possible, but he'd rather see the whole thing scrapped. 

As of last year, 232 same-sex couples were in the statewide registry. The court has not said when it would rule on the matter.