U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison Friday overturned Wisconsin's gay marriage ban, striking down an amendment to the state constitution approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2006.You may be able get married in Wisconsin. Todays decision is unclear because the judge didn't either stay or hold the decision. However, the County Clerk in Milwaukee County is ready, has extra trained staff in anticipation of the ruling.
Crabb did not stay her ruling but also did not immediately issue an order blocking the enforcement of the order, leaving it for the moment unclear whether couples could immediately marry in the courthouses of Wisconsin.
Instead, Crabb asked the gay couples who had sued over the ban to describe by June 16 exactly what they wanted the judge to block with respect to the enforcement of the law. She said she would then address whether to stay her decision while the matter is on appeal.
I expect people to rush in because both Governor Scott Walker (R-I'm Running For
President Re-election) and Attorney General Van Hollen (R-I'm Leaving) have both reiterated their intention to appeal any decision that didn't meet their own ideological position.
55% of Wisconsinites approve of marriage equality according to recent polls.
The family values crowd, however, doesn't approve.
Julaine Appling, a representative of Wisconsin Family Action, said this week she hoped Crabb would consider the voters who supported the constitutional amendment when she makes her decision. Appling's group was instrumental in promoting the referendum to adopt the ban and more recently filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.
"I don't understand when 'We the People' became 'I the Judge,'" Appling said. "We hope that Barbara Crabb will make her decision keeping in mind that we the people define marriage in our state as between one woman and one man."
Let me hand them a tissue and, perhaps, some understanding that they need to keep their noses out of other peoples business.
It's a good day.
Despite the murkiness of whether the lack of a stay or hold means the law hasn't been struck down (Wis. Atty Gen Van Hollen says the law is still in force), County Clerks in Milwaukee and Madison are issuing same sex marriage licenses right now:
Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, a Democrat, said he would issue marriage licenses beginning at 5 p.m. Friday into the evening. He said officials from the state Department of Justice advised him not to issue the licenses but he would move forward despite that.The County Clerks office in Milwaukee is staying open until 9 PM tonight and will have hours tomorrow (Saturday). I can't remember a time when the clerks office was open at those times in the history of Milwaukee County.
"They don't get to tell me that," he said of DOJ. "A judge gets to...If someone comes to me, how could I say no to them?"
Dana Brueck, a spokeswoman for Van Hollen, had no immediate response on how the attorney general would respond to that.
Milwaukee County Clerk Joe Czarnezki, a Democrat, said that his office would accept same-sex marriage applications until 9 p.m. Friday and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The county's corporation counsel advised him that the applications could be issued.
"Personally, I'm pleased she struck the ban down," he said. "It makes us proud to be in Wisconsin and a state that's standing up for marriage equality."
He said the phone has not stopped ringing with inquiries with questions. Couples interested in getting married should use the courthouse entrance off of Wells Street, between 9th and 10th streets, county officials said.
Milwaukee County executive Chris Abele said that he would personally pay for any overtime costs for keeping the courthouse open.
"I have been waiting decades for this day to finally arrive and we won't make loving couples wait longer than they want to get married," he said in a statement.
Oh, yeah, it's happening.
This space awaiting decisions on Wisconsin's abortion trap laws and John Doe II appeal.