Federal judge halts same-sex marriage in Wisconsin

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by Chris Patterson

MADISON – U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb has completed her ruling saying county clerks cannot withhold marriage licenses from same sex couples. Immediately after that she issued a stay that halts all same-sex marriage in the State of Wisconsin.

Judge Crabb released a partial ruling on June 6th saying Wisconsin's same-sex marriage law was unconstitutional, leading several counties to stay open late marrying same-sex couples. By the time Judge Crabb completed and then stayed her own ruling, 60 of 72 counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

There's no word on what that means for the hundreds of same-sex couples who rushed to their county clerk's office to get married during the one week it was allowed. Dane County Courporate Counsel David Gault says, "I don't believe Judge Crabb said anything to the effect that they aren't valid."

"After seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media reports, I find it difficult to impost a stay on the event that is responsible for eliciting that emotion even if the stay is only temporary," wrote Judge Crabb.

This stay will hold until the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals makes a ruling on the state's appeal to Judge Crabb's decision. 

Wisconsin State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a statement:

“I am very pleased that Judge Crabb has followed the lead of courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, and fully stayed her ruling. By staying this ruling, she has confirmed that Wisconsin’s law regarding same-sex marriage remains in full force and effect.

“The state and all of its agencies and subdivisions must follow and enforce Wisconsin’s marriage law.  County clerks do not have authority under Wisconsin law to issue same-sex marriage licenses.  Judge Crabb’s stay makes this abundantly clear.” 

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