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Judge suggests she will put same-sex marriages in Wisconsin on hold

Says she would 'probably' issue her written decision later today
Friday, June 13, 2014
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While Crabb considers what to do next, Van Hollen has also asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to take the case and put Crabb’s ruling on hold. The appeals court has not yet said what it intends to do.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb

As of midday Thursday, 555 same-sex couples had gotten married in the state, based on an Associated Press survey of all 72 counties. There was a rush to get married in Madison and Milwaukee on June 6, when Crabb released her decision, and then again earlier this week throughout the state as other counties began issuing licenses.

Van Hollen said Thursday that same-sex couples with marriage licenses aren’t legally married because Crabb hasn’t issued an order telling county clerks how to interpret her ruling striking down the law. Van Hollen also said district attorneys could charge clerks who issued licenses with a crime.

Crabb reiterated in the 30-minute hearing Friday that clerks were issuing licenses to same-sex couples on their own.

“I never told them not to and I never told them to do it,” Crabb said.

The ACLU and others say because Crabb found the law unconstitutional, and didn’t order clerks not to issue licenses, they can legally give them to couples seeking to get married.

Wisconsin’s constitutional amendment, approved by 59 percent of voters in 2006, outlawed gay marriage or anything substantially similar.

The ACLU said the ban violated the constitutional rights of eight gay couples to equal protection and due process and Crabb agreed.

Gay rights activists have won 15 consecutive lower court cases since a landmark Supreme Court ruling last summer, with Wisconsin being the latest.

A final ruling on Wisconsin’s case likely is months away.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to weigh in during its next session beginning in October.

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