Judge strikes down Wisconsin gay marriage ban

Judge strikes down Wisconsin gay marriage ban

42 counties in Wisconsin began issuing same-sex marriage licenses on Monday.

Following a ruling that Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, counties across the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Associated Press reported earlier this week that 42 counties in Wisconsin, over half of the counties in the state, began issuing same-sex marriage licenses on Monday.

Couples rushed to wed after the ban was struck down, seeking to take advantage of the time before an expected hold on the ruling is implemented.

The Wisconsin American Civil Liberties Union applauded the decision, which stated that the marriage ban violated same-sex couples right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.

“[P]ersonal beliefs, anxiety about change and discomfort about an unfamiliar way of life must give way to a respect for the constitutional rights of individuals,” said U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb in her ruling on Friday, “…courts do not “endorse” marriage between same-sex couples, but merely affirm that those couples have rights to liberty and equality under the Constitution.”

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen requested a stay of ruling, which would prevent county clerks from using the decision to allow same-sex marriages, but Judge Crabb refused the request.

On Monday, Van Hollen submitted an emergency motion for a stay of the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, citing that a stay was necessary to preserve the “status quo” – especially as the state of Wisconsin seeks to appeal the ruling.

“[Van Hollen’s] appeal of this case is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars and I urge him to reconsider,” said Joe Parisi, County Executive of Dane County.

Wisconsin Senator Dale Schultz (R – Richland Center), an early supporter of the ban,  issued a statement commending the decision.

“Laws that demoralize, discriminate and dehumanize fellow Americans simply for being who they are require reexamination,” said Schultz, emphasizing the need to evolve as a society.

The Seventh Circuit is expected to rule at any time.

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