This Ted Cruz Endorser Would Have Sent Married Gay Couples to Jail

Julaine Appling is one of 50 religious leaders backing Cruz in Wisconsin.

Jim Mone/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


One of Ted Cruz’s supporters in Wisconsin once stood up for the idea that gay couples who married in another state should be sent to prison—and be fined hefty sums.

Back in 2008, when California legalized same-sex marriage (before Proposition 8 temporarily ended marriage equality there), same-sex couples in Wisconsin considered heading to California to tie the knot. But there was a hitch. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported at the time, an obscure state law “makes it a crime for Wisconsin residents to enter into marriage in another state if the marriage would be prohibited here.” The law also carried a serious penalty of up to $10,000 and nine months in prison.

And at least one person wanted to see that law enforced against gay Wisconsin couples who married elsewhere. “If it were challenged and the courts decided to basically wink at it, and refused to enforce the law, we have a problem,” Julaine Appling, who led the Wisconsin Family Council, said at the time.

Appling, now president of Wisconsin Family Action, a conservative Christian group, was dubbed “the most important social conservative” by the Capital Times. Her name appears at the top of a list of 50 evangelical and Catholic Cruz supporters that the campaign released Friday ahead of the April 5 primary in the state.

Appling has a long history of fighting marriage equality. She supported passage of a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2006. And in 2009, she was behind a lawsuit to block a Wisconsin domestic partnership law to grant same-sex couples some of the benefits married couples received. Appling called the law “an assault on the people, the state constitution, the democratic process, and the institution of marriage.”

The conservative crusader wants to not only stop gay couples from marrying, but also keep straight couples from separating. In 2014, she told the Capital Times that she wanted the state to pass laws to encourage relationship counseling and discourage divorce by lengthening the waiting period for obtaining a divorce.

And she is no fan of Donald Trump. In February, she signed on to an open letter to the Republican front-runner from social conservatives asking questions like “How will you make America great when you’ve run businesses associated with increased crime, bankruptcies, broken marriages and suicides?” and “What would you say to young girls and women who are concerned about a president who is directly connected with the exploitation of women?”

 

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.