Unconstitutional: Fed judge strikes down state’s ban on same-sex marriage

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MADISON (WITI/AP) — A federal judge has struck down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage, and despite confusion over the ruling, clerks in Madison and Milwaukee say they'll start marrying people immediately.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb released her ruling late Friday, calling the ban unconstitutional.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he'll appeal the decision. But both he and the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit challenging the ban, don't believe the ruling allows same-sex weddings to immediately begin.

Still, clerks in Madison and Milwaukee were planning to start marrying people right away.

Katy Heyning and Judi Trampf came here from Madison because of Cher and Pridefest, they wanted to make it a memorable night... But this?

"It means that, for us, we are finally going to be recognized after 25 years together as a couple with legitimacy," said Heyning and Trampf. "I burst into tears...and I'm still ready to cry. It's wonderful."

A lawyer for the ACLU spoke along with three same-sex couples at a press conference in Riverwest. By then, many in the crowd were aware of Van Hollen's decision to file emergency motions for a federal court to issue a sty on the ruling -- meaning couples wouldn't be able to marry.

"I would hope our state officials would not be so small as to try and take something away from somebody who, in good faith, went to commit to one another publically through marriage," said Larry Dupuis, ACLU lawyer.

Dupis acknowledged the possibility of couples having to wait.

"There`s the question of whether there`s gonna be a stay issued or not so there are steps still coming," said Dupis.

If those steps lead this case all the way to the US Supreme Court, these couples say they'll be ready.

"If there`s a bump in the road and we have to wait a little bit, so be it. It`ll happen eventually," said Garth Wangemann & Roy Badger, same-sex couple.

The ACLU says it will submit a proposed order to the judge on Monday, asking for an injunction which would tell the state what it cannot do, and what it must do in response to the judge's ruling.

Wisconsin is now the 27th state where same-sex couples can marry under law or where a judge has ruled they ought to be allowed to wed.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett issued the following statement:

“All loving couples, committed to each other and family, should have the freedom to marry. Today’s decision by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb affirms that right.

“I encourage State Attorney General Von Hollen and Governor Walker to drop their opposition to marriage equity and recognize the rights of all Wisconsin couples to marry.”

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued the following statement in response to the ruling released by Judge Crabb:

“As Attorney General, I have an obligation to uphold Wisconsin law and our Constitution.  While today’s decision is a setback, we will continue to defend the constitutionality of our traditional marriage laws and the constitutional amendment, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters.  I will appeal.

Importantly, current law remains in force.  I am encouraged by the District Court’s refusal to issue an immediate injunction. We have seen the disruption to couples and families throughout the United States when courts have first allowed same-sex marriage only to have those marriages subsequently called into question by another court. I anticipate the United States Supreme Court will give finality to this issue in their next term.

I will continue defend our Constitution and law in whatever forum is appropriate and I would hope my successor will fulfill this same oath and obligation.”

Gov. Scott Walker has been a strong proponent of the constitutional same-sex marriage ban that was approved by state voters in 2006.



Federal Opinion On WI Gay Marriage Ban (2)

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com  for this developing story.


  • Bob S.

    I wish news sources would more accurately identify that it was a DANE CO. uber liberal federal judge who issued the ruling.
    Whatever would fringe elements do without such ” jurists “. HA!

    • Rachel W.

      Most, (not all) of these activists were appointed by Obama, Clinton and Carter, so their actions do not surprise me. SSM is NOT inevitable in this country as many would like one to believe. If one bothered to read the last 5 pages of the ruling for the Michigan affirmative action case, one would realize that Justice Kennedy, (the usual deciding vote), is a very big believer in state rights and the citizens of a state having the right to vote on ‘sensitive’ social issues, i.e. ssm.
      Also, it is very unlikely that SCOTUS will throw out the Attorney General’s appeals for the legally voted ssm bans by the majority of the state’s, in order to favor the wishes of 1-2% of the population.

    • Jackie

      I agree with you Patty.. And Then, to take a stand against a topic like this, instead of for example, violent criminals, those two girls that stabbed their friend 19 times, in Waukesha. Seriously, priorities people, priorities!!!

    • eddie

      I can’t believe that you would even put that on the same level to people that love one an other. I understand without the bible that we wouldn’t know what marriage is. But I’m sure u have done a ton of “unpure” thing in your life. Everyone has the right to love who they want and marry them aswell and marry you aswell if u feel it necessary I guess u can marry your dog. But at this point I would feel bad for him

  • Sassy

    My question is – why was the courthouse opened late today and going to be open on Saturday? Who pays for that? We as taxpayers do. I was not asked if that is how I want to spend my taxpayer dollars today. If me as a female and my male fiancee are not able to make it to the courthouse until 7:00 p.m. to get married, will they stay open late for us to get there? I think not!! How is that fair?

    • Hans Klaus

      Give me a break! Those choosing the heterosexual lifestyle have only had every day of the week for a century or two to get to the courthouse and marry their fiancees! And generations of us have had to pay for that when we were banned from the same process! Grow up!

      • Sassy

        So Hans – You ARE looking for special not equal…. I am a grown up and I realize that things change and we are not living like they did in the past but that is just progress and it happens. But, when it comes to spending my tax dollars, I want to have a say. Though it appears that the will of the people really doesn’t matter.

    • opiepaul

      From another story on this website: “Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said he will personally pay for any overtime costs associated with keeping the Courthouse open.” So there.

      • Rachel W.

        Shame Mr. Abele is throwing his money away like that. The state will be issued a stay and the decision of all these activists judges will be overturned once reaching SCOTUS.

  • Ann

    So much for justice why not throw the constitution in the toilet
    Along with the rest of country

  • Michelle

    If 2 adults love one another it’s no one’s business but theirs. If they choose to get married there is no reason why they should be cheated out of the benefits of a married couple.

Comments are closed.

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