Berri West, left, and new spouse Lisa West, right, hold their daughter Sylas just before they were married Monday, June 9, 2014, after the Brown County Clerk's office began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
Photo by Jim Matthews/AP

Judge denies request to halt gay marriages in Wisconsin


Same-sex marriages will continue to be allowed in Wisconsin – at least for now – after a federal judge denied an emergency request from the state to keep its ban on such unions in place.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb refused on Monday to stay her ruling from last week striking down the Badger State’s voter-approved amendment limiting marriage rights to heterosexual couples. That ruling made Wisconsin the 20th state, in addition to the District of Columbia, where gay and lesbian couples can legally wed.

Crabb’s decision was unusual in that she did not immediately stay the effects of her ruling – as many judges have – which would have kept the ban in place for the duration of the appeals process. At the same time, she did not order the state to stop enforcing the ban, leaving many clerks confused about whether it was still in place or not.

To clarify the situation, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, asked for another hearing Monday, after which Crabb said she would leaved the “status quo” in place until deciding what specific orders to issue public officials. She set her next hearing for June 19, according to the Journal Sentinel.

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Hundreds of same-sex couples married over the weekend in Milwaukee and Madison, the Associated Press reported, after county clerks decided to issue licenses to them based on Judge Crabb’s ruling. Van Hollen also asked the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay, saying in a corresponding statement: “There is absolutely no reason to allow Wisconsin’s county clerks to decide for themselves, on a county-by-county basis, who may and may not lawfully get married in this state.”

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Judge denies request to halt gay marriages in Wisconsin