Officials blast Attorney General for implying clerks may face prosecution

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by David Ade

 MADISON -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is now warning county clerks they could face criminal charges for issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

This despite the fact that a federal judge has already decided Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Those comments by the attorney general were made Thursday to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and sparked strong and immediate backlash in Madison.

With state and county officials rushing today to support the clerks statewide who are issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

The lawyer representing Dane County's clerk sent us an email this afternoon in response to Van Hollen's comments.

In it, he basically says clerks aren't breaking any law because the law has already been ruled unconstitutional.

He also says Van Hollen's comments are blatant scare tactics with no legal basis.

While the Milwaukee County Clerk’s office tells us they haven't been contacted by Van Hollen's office at this point.

Back in Dane County though, frustration with the Attorney General is clearly growing among officials.

We confirmed Dane County Executive Joe Parisi did post this tweet Thursday; it says "AG Van Hollen threatens county clerks for helping loving couples. What about real problems like gangs & addiction."

Based on the numbers we collected Thursday, Dane County is second only to Milwaukee County in the number of same-sex marriage licenses that have issued since last Friday.

Also Thursday morning, Walworth County became the latest in our viewing area to start issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

 

Friday, federal judge Barbara Crabb will hold a hearing in Madison where she could end up finishing her ruling on the same-sex marriage case.

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