Is this really what Wisconsin voters had in mind last yaer?

Gov. Scott Walker believes a new law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights violates the state constitution and has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending it.

Democrats who controlled the Legislature in 2009 changed the law so that same-sex couples could sign up for domestic partnership registries with county clerks to secure some – but not all – of the rights afforded married couples.

Wisconsin Family Action sued last year in Dane County circuit court, arguing that the registries violated a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans gay marriage and any arrangement that is substantially similar.

With no real understanding of the state constitution or the anti-gay measure approved in 2006, I can’t speak to the merits of the constitutional argument in any depth. But as E.D. Kain noted, “Walker is literally going out of his way to prevent two people in a loving, committed relationship from visiting one another at the hospital. In other words, at what is quite likely a couple’s darkest hour, Scott Walker wants to impose legal restrictions barring two people from being with one another. Imagine that your wife or your husband was in the hospital and you were legally prohibited from visiting them. Is this the role we want our government to play in our lives?”

Doug Mataconis added:

I won’t speak to the legal side of this issue because I’m not up to speed on it, but I really have to wonder what kind of person would seek to prevent two people who are in a relationship from making whatever arrangements they want to allow the other to visit them in the hospital, and what right the state has to tell hospitals that they cannot honor those requests.

Is the GOP hatred for gays so pervasive that they could really be this cold and heartless?

Apparently, yes. Cruelty, in some circles, is a “family value.”

For months, it’s been assumed that Scott Walker’s agenda was primarily focused on punishing school teachers and other state workers. We’re now learning his hostility for some of his constituents is broadening.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.