The University of Wisconsin's Board of Regents may be ready to get involved with another political controversy.
When the regents meet in Platteville today and tomorrow, they will consider a public stance on the controversial amendment to ban gay marriage this November.
According to Regent Charles Pruitt, the UW System's legal counsel plans to speak at today's meeting and could recommend the board take a stance on the amendment. However, Pruitt added, he does not want to predict whether the board will actually end up doing so.
"I think it's going to be of pretty serious consideration," said Pruitt, who chairs the board's Business, Finance and Audit Committee. "I hesitate to predict what will happen, but we'll see how that goes."
The board, he added, will hear from representatives of both sides of the marriage amendment at Friday's meeting, at which time a final vote may take place.
The marriage amendment, which will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot, has been the subject of widespread debate, prompting outcries of state-sponsored discrimination.
Eli Judge, chair of Students for a Fair Wisconsin, said organizations throughout the state seem to be taking positions on the ban.
"Many different groups are seeing that even though this may be a charged issue, it's important for everyone in the state," Judge said. "We're seeing this as [a] very important issue."
Although they wield considerably less power than the regents, the Associated Students of Madison — UW-Madison's student government group –voted earlier this semester to publicly oppose the amendment.
Neither Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle nor gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Wis., offered any direct recommendation as to how the regents should handle the issue when contacted late Wednesday.
"It's a decision that the board is going to have to make for themselves," Doyle's communications director Dan Leistikow said.
Leistikow added that the governor's stance on the issue is clear.
"Marriage is already clearly defined as between a man and a woman," he said. "This constitutional amendment is an attempt to score political points by dividing the state."
In a statement issued to The Badger Herald issued by his campaign, U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Wis., chose to reiterate his personal stance on the issue and declined comment on whether or not it would be appropriate for the regents to take a stand.
"I believe that marriage should be clearly defined as being between one man and one woman," Green said.
According to a poll released Monday by WisPolitics.com, a majority of state residents will ultimately vote for the same-sex marriage ban. The survey of 600 likely voters reported 53 percent of respondents are for the amendment, while 39 percent are against. Eight percent did not respond.