Judge rejects stay on same-sex marriage ruling, WI county clerks issue licenses

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Madison, WI, United States (4E) – The Western District of Wisconsin judge on Monday rejected the state Department of Justice’s petition to stay her Friday ruling declaring a ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional as 42 of 72 Wisconsin counties continued issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Judge Barbara Crabb denied the request of state attorneys in a hearing saying she could only order a stay if she had made a final ruling. Crabb clarified that her Friday ruling was simply a declaratory order and she can issue a final ruling when the plaintiffs challenging the ban specify the relief they are seeking.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit challenging the ban in January on behalf of eight gay couples. Crabb said she wants ACLU to tell her exactly what it wanted her to block in the gay marriage law.

Crabb will hear the plaintiff’s motion for injunctive relief and the state’s response to it on June 19.

State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen also filed a motion to stay with the 7th District Court of Appeals in Chicago but Crabb said the latter has no jurisdiction until she has a final judgment.

Meanwhile, hundreds of couples married over the weekend in Milwaukee and Madison after Crabb’s ruling. Milwaukee and Dane counties issued 283 marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday and Saturday. Scott McDonell, Dane County Clerk, said he will continue to issue licenses until a judge tells him to stop.

cDonell said that after Crabb issued her ruling, he has nothing to cite to a couple seeking a marriage license why they can’t get married.

Waukesha County began issuing licenses to same-sex couples Monday morning. But Brown County Deputy Clerk Justin Schmit turned away about 15 couples in Green Bay applying for license on Monday morning while the Racine County clerk is waiting for clarification from the courts before issuing any licenses.

“We’re waiting on further clarification from the court and our state vital records office which we have not received yet, so until we get that information we won’t be taking any applications at this time,” Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen said, according to WISN.

Clerks in several counties are waiting for directions from the Wisconsin Vital Records Office (WVRO), which keeps marriage records, before issuing licenses and the Department of Health Services, which oversees the WVRO, is waiting for guidance from Van Hollen, the agency’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Miller, said.

The La Crosse, Ozaukee, Walworth, Washington and St. Croix County Clerks offices are waiting for direction before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Kenosha, Jefferson, Sheboygan, Outagamie and Rock counties are issuing licenses.

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