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Madison attorney represents state in lawsuit challenging protections for same-sex couples

Madison attorney Lester Pines will defend the state in a lawsuit that challenges the new legal protections for same-sex couples.

Gov. Jim Doyle hired Pines yesterday, after Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen refused to fight the suit filed by three board members of the Wisconsin Family Action group.

The plaintiffs said the new benefits for gay couples violate the constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions.

And Van Hollen said he agrees with the plaintiffs. Pines will get $175 an hour, up to $20,000 over a one-year period.

The governor's office said Pines was chosen because of his 34 years of legal experience. And he's familiar with the legal issues in the gay marriage amendment, since he's defending a University of W-Oshkosh professor who's trying to strike it down on a claim that it was improperly worded.

That case is pending before the State Supreme Court.