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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


In 2016, Daniel Kelly applied for a vacancy on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In his application, he criticized same-sex marriage and mentioned the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States vs. Windsor. In that case, the court struck down part of a federal law that defined marriage for federal purposes as a legal union between one man and one woman.

Kelly wrote:

“The sentiments expressed in United States vs. Windsor will eventually rob the institution of marriage of any discernible meaning. Fairness, as a substitute for justice, must always reduce to the least common denominator. By little and little, it will wear away marriage’s distinctives.”

Kelly is one of four candidates in the 2023 state Supreme Court race. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the Feb. 21 primary will compete in the spring election on April 4.

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DocumentCloud: Daniel Kelly application for Wisconsin Supreme Court

Encyclopædia Britannica: United States v. Windsor | law case

Ballotpedia: Wisconsin Supreme Court elections, 2023

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Carroll students oppose Justice Kelly appearance

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Scott Walker names Daniel Kelly to high court

Wisconsin Examiner: Wisconsin Examiner

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.