More Wisconsin gay couples wed, state
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[June 10, 2014]
By Brendan O'Brien
MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - A federal judge on
Monday refused a state request to halt same-sex marriages in Wisconsin,
where hundreds of gay couples have tied the knot since she declared late
last week that its ban was unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb denied the request from
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who has appealed her
decision and asked that weddings be halted to reduce confusion.
Hundreds of gay couples have married in Wisconsin's two most
populous counties, Milwaukee and Dane, home to the state capital,
Madison, since Crabb's ruling, while clerks in many other counties
have not issued licenses.
Van Hollen had sought the stay from Crabb on Friday and on Monday
asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to halt gay
marriages in Wisconsin until appeals are concluded.
Until then, Van Hollen said in a statement, Wisconsin's ban on gay
marriage remains in effect and state and local officials are under a
continuing duty to follow the marriage law unless and until the
court enjoins that law.
Crabb's rulings have not addressed directly whether county clerks
may issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the interim.
"I understand defendants' concern that some county clerks have been
issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since I issued the
June 6 decision, but that is not a result of an injunction by this
court," Crabb wrote.
More than 280 marriage licenses were issued to gay couples on Friday
and Saturday in Milwaukee and Dane counties after Crabb ruled the
ban unconstitutional. A steady stream of couples sought licenses
Monday in counties around the state.
"His (Van Hollen's) appeal of this case is a colossal waste of
taxpayer dollars and I urge him to reconsider," Dane County
Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement.
Dane County had issued at least 20 marriage licenses to gay couples
on Monday by mid afternoon and planned to continue, Dane County
Clerk Scott McDonell said after Crabb's latest ruling.
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The office of Milwaukee County Clerk Joe Czarnezki said it had
issued more than 35 marriage licenses to gay couples Monday.
Crabb's ruling was the latest in a string of decisions by federal
judges who have struck down gay marriage bans in a number of states.
Challenges to state bans gathered momentum last June when the U.S.
Supreme Court struck down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage
Act, ruling that legally married same-sex couples were eligible for
Not including Wisconsin, same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 states
plus the District of Columbia. That number would jump sharply if
federal court rulings striking down bans in several states are
upheld on appeal.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jim
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