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Judge won’t block Wis. gay marriage ban while lawsuit moves forward

Judge won’t block Wis. gay marriage ban while lawsuit moves forward

MADISON, Wis. — A federal judge says she won’t block Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban while a lawsuit challenging it moves forward.

WisconsinU.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb said Tuesday that she won’t issue a preliminary injunction in the case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. Crabb says an injunction would be immediately challenged, likely leading to a stay of the order.

She has advised the ACLU to withdraw its motion for the injunction.

The ACLU filed the motion on Feb. 27, asking Crabb to nullify the ban until a final decision comes down, arguing that same-sex couples could suffer harm if the ban remains in place.

ACLU attorneys said the ban in place impairs gay couples’ legal rights and exposes gay Wisconsin couples who married in other states to potential prosecution because same-sex couples who reside in Wisconsin can’t get married in another state and return to Wisconsin legally.

A provision in state law declares that anyone who marries in another state to circumvent Wisconsin law can face up to $10,000 in fines and jail time.

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ACLU attorneys said they don’t know of anyone who has actually been prosecuted under those statutes, however.

Crabb said the plaintiffs should consider pursuing a “swift final determination” in federal court rather than litigating the case in stages with no immediate clear benefits.

She gave ACLU attorneys until March 11 to file a brief persuading her that the injunction would be appropriate in light of the other cases and whether an expedited court schedule would serve the same purpose.

Follow the case: Wolf and Schumacher v. Walker.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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