Federal Judge Barbara Crabb has denied the Wisconsin attorney general's request for a halt to same-sex marriages.
During a hearing on Monday, Crabb said since she has not issued any injunctive relief, she cannot issue a stay on a Friday ruling regarding striking down a state ban on same-sex marriage. A ruling released Monday said she denied the request for an emergency stay.
Crabb asked the ACLU to tell her exactly what it wanted her to block in the gay marriage law. Crabb said Monday she'll schedule a hearing once the ACLU responds.
The ruling means the status quo remains in place, but Crabb’s Friday ruling caused confusion because she didn't specifically tell county and state officials whether they could issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked Crabb for a stay while the issues are cleared up. He filed a similar request Monday in federal appeals court.
“In the absence of an injunction by the judge the law hasn’t changed,” Van Hollen said. “Historically, the law is quite clear. If a judge doesn’t order something to occur then nothing changes. She found the law to be unconstitutional however, she didn’t order an injunction saying the law isn’t in effect, which means it remains in effect, and everybody should act accordingly.”
Clerks in Madison and Milwaukee immediately began issuing licenses Friday. Clerks in 41 of the state's 72 counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday.
- Columbia County – issuing with 5-day waiting period
- Dane County – issuing, waiting period waived
- Grant County – issuing with 5-day waiting period
- Green County – issuing, waiting period waived
- Iowa County – issuing with 5-day waiting period
- Jefferson County – issuing, waiting period waived, clerk’s office advising couples to wait until ruling is clarified
- Juneau County – issuing, waiting period waived
- Lafayette County – not issuing, one couple was turned away
- Marquette County – issuing with 5-day waiting period
- Rock County – issuing, waiting period waived
- Sauk County – started issuing at 2:30 p.m. on Monday
- Waukesha County – issuing, waiting period waived
Outagamie County Clerk Lori O'Bright initially told couples Monday morning that she would wait for direction from the state before issuing licenses to gay couples. She changed her mind after nearly 100 people refused to leave her office without completing forms.
“Once she struck down the constitutional ban and the statutes that were related to it, I would have nothing to cite to a couple that came into our office to say they can’t get married,” Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said.
Kathy Flores was one of those waiting to apply for a license. She says dozens of people gathered at O'Bright's office responded that they weren't leaving until licenses were issued.
A county attorney then told O'Bright to begin accepting applications. But, unlike some other county clerks, O'Bright is not waiving Wisconsin's five-day waiting period unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno said she hoped for advice from the Wisconsin Vital Records Office, which keeps marriage records. But she says after she couldn't reach anyone at the office she decided to issue licenses to about 10 couples.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Van Hollen’s appeal is wasting taxpayer dollars, and that the state’s resources would be much better spent reducing problems like opiate addiction, child abuse or gang violence.