Rock County issues marriage licenses for same-sex couples

Clerk reviews ruling, follows path of Milwaukee, Madison
Rock County issues marriage licenses for same-sex couples
Jennifer Wagner and Amanda Suckow

Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler said she received no direction after Friday’s ruling that declared Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.

After consulting with other county clerks and reviewing the ruling, Stottler, along with her staff, followed in the path of Milwaukee and Madison and decided to issue marriage licenses to couples Monday.

“If this ruling happens what do we do? They said we would have guidance then. Well, as of 8 o’clock this morning I’ve had no guidance, other than we have no guidance. So, I’m acting on the best of my ability,” Stottler said.

Stottler said even though her office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she warned them about the possible consequences.

“I’m more afraid with not issuing a license and denying couples, than issuing and having a judge overturning it later. Couples that enter my office are being told that this has some trepidation to it, and that they may be enjoined to a future ruling. I think they understand what they are entering into before the time they leave here,” she said.

Amanda Suckow and Jennifer Wagner, the first same-sex couple to be married in Rock County, said even if Friday’s ruling were to change, every minute counts.

“Even if they overturned it, we just wanted to have it. At least for a minute we were able to,” Suckow said.

It’s a part of history Neil Lawrence and Richard, who have been partners for 26 years, never thought they would live to see.

“We had been hoping this would be possible in our lifetime because we are not getting any younger,” Neil Lawrence said.

Suckow and Wagner are still trying to grasp all the emotions after tying the knot, but said they are happy to be a part of state history.

“Overjoyed, ecstatic, nervous; you know, we made a stand,” Suckow said.

“I’ve always loved history, I’ve never been a part of it though,” Wagner said.