Same-Sex Marriages Being Celebrated in WI…and It’s About Time
Folks, last Friday, United States District Court judge Barbara Crabb overturned Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriages, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution. (Here’s a link to her ruling in full, in case you’re interested.)
While Wisconsin’s Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, immediately appealed the ruling to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, for the moment same-sex couples can marry in Wisconsin. And many are doing so, because Judge Crabb has not issued a stay on same-sex marriages pending appeal (as have some other judges); instead, she’s asked for further arguments from Van Hollen that explain why he feels a stay should be granted.
In the interim, every county in Wisconsin is doing something different with regards to same-sex marriage. Some counties are not allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, including my own Racine County; others, like Dane and Milwaukee County and even the reddest Republican county in Wisconsin, Waukesha County, are allowing same-sex couples to marry.
I applaud the county clerks who are allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. But I do understand why the other county clerks are hesitant to marry same-sex couples as there’s a law on Wisconsin’s books that says any county clerk who marries someone illegally can be held liable (to the tune of $10,000 per “illegal marriage”).
Personally, if I were Governor Scott Walker, I’d call off J.B. Van Hollen and concede this issue. (Note that state Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, has already done so.) Walker and Van Hollen can be personally opposed all they like, but the fact of the matter is, same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in the same manner as opposite-sex couples.
However, as they’re unlikely to do that, I will wait for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to come down with a decision. I hope they will not issue a stay, because not every county clerk who’s allowing gay marriages to go forward is waiving the five-day mandatory waiting period (though both Milwaukee and Dane counties are). And that means the paperwork may get started, but the people in those counties may not be able to get married after all if a stay is put in place before the marriage can actually be celebrated.
I’d been hoping that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals would immediately back up the federal court judge on this one, which is the only reason I hadn’t immediately blogged about this back on Friday night. (Over the weekend, Pride Fest was held in Milwaukee, so it was especially apt that the federal judge issued her ruling at that time.) I wanted to be able to say unequivocally that same-sex marriage would be forevermore legal in the state of Wisconsin — as it should be.
And while I cannot say that at this hour, I can at least say that I’m very pleased we’ve taken this step forward, thanks to the federal judge.
Now let’s try to stay there.