Lawsuit against same-sex marriage served in Milwaukee Co., as couples continue to get married

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A lawsuit filed against same-sex marriage has been served in Milwaukee County. The lawsuit lists as defendants Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, County Clerk Joe Czarnezki and two other members of his office. The suit was filed in the hopes that a judge will put the brakes on same-sex marriages in Milwaukee County. This, as the Milwaukee County Clerk's Office says it will continue to marry same-sex couples.

Samantha Holt-Emslie and Petra Arnieri got engaged in March.

They originally planned the 1,500-mile trip from Fort Lauderdale to Milwaukee to celebrate their engagement with Arneiri's family.

"This was planned about six months ago and it just so happened a couple days ago that gay marriage became legal, so we figured while we`re there and we have family there, why not do it in Wisconsin, with family?" Holt-Emslie said.

Both women work for fire departments in south Florida. By getting married Thursday, they say they can take advantage of a new pension benefit.

"We actually just changed the contract recently to where the contract states that if you are part of a same-sex marriage from another state, that it`s recognized on our contract. If something happens to one of us, one of us is the beneficiary," Holt-Emslie said.

Bob Braun, who filed the lawsuit against same-sex marriage in Milwaukee County says he believes the county should wait for more clarity from federal courts before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"The other day I come down here, I can hardly get three or four people down here to hold signs with me. Everybody`s doing nothing. They`re all waiting for the Attorney General. I don`t trust appellate court judges," Braun said.

Milwaukee County's Deputy Clerk says his office will continue granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on advice from the county's corporation counsel.

"They reviewed the 88-page decision of Judge Crabb`s and decided that they felt that was the intent and that`s how they interpreted the law," Milwaukee County Deputy Clerk George Christenson said.

Braun's lawsuit claims County Executive Chris Abele acted unethically when he paid out-of-pocket for any overtime incurred by his decision to extend County Courthouse hours last weekend.

Braun argues that's a form of bribery.

FOX6 News was unable to contact Abele Thursday afternoon for comment -- but in the past, he has said he paid for it personally so no one could accuse the County of wasting tax dollars.

1 Comment

  • Manny Borges

    Sometimes , when policy changes happen, lots of wheels have to turn and people end up working lots of extra hours to make the transition while still providing the services that are expected of them.
    You have three choices. Do not meet your obligations. Pay workers “salary” and make them work more with no additional pay. Pay people overtime.
    In this case overtime was the option.
    The city executive has a responsibility to also keep gov spending to a minimum.
    So he paid the overtime out of his own pocket.
    That is the basis of this phony, frivolous lawsuit. The purpose is to drain him of money in legal fees, to waste his and our time , and to tie up the courts resources. They won’t likely “win” in the traditional sense. But just by starting the process the sleazebags get what they want.

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