Wisconsin court upholds ban on cemeteries, funeral homes

MADISON — A Wisconsin appeals court has upheld the state's ban on joint ownership of cemeteries and funeral homes.

The decision Tuesday from the 2nd District Court of Appeals comes in the case of a New Berlin cemetery that wants to add a funeral home. Highland Memorial Park sued the state, arguing Wisconsin laws banning joint ownership are unconstitutional, arbitrary, anti-competitive and irrational.

The state argues that so-called "anti-combination" laws are related to the government interest of preserving competition, protecting consumers from higher prices and reducing the potential for abuses of comingling cemetery and funeral revenues.

The Waukesha County circuit court sided with the state in upholding the laws and the appeals court on Tuesday agreed.

The appeals court says the laws are constitutional and the cemetery failed to show they are not rationally related to a legitimate government interest.