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Marriage equality Wisconsin: Judge puts stay on same-sex marriages

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A week after striking down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage, a federal judge on Friday has put same-sex marriages in the state on hold pending appeals of her ruling that the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The decision ended a week of confusion among country clerks who have already issued marriage licenses.

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb didn't immediately put a stay on her decision nor did she give any indication as to when gay marriages were to start taking place. This left county clerk offices in a state of flux as last Friday's ruling brought a rush of more than 500 gay couples applying for marriage licenses. Many of those couples were granted licenses.

Crabb was reluctant to issue the stay do to the joy the decision brought on those couples wishing to get married or already married, but she felt compelled to follow the guidance of the U.S. Supreme Court and issue the stay. In her 14-page order, she wrote, "Same-sex couples have waited many years to receive equal treatment under the law, so it is understandable that they do not want to wait any longer. However, a federal district court is required to follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court."

Her ruling was influenced by the U.S. Supreme Court's stay that stopped same-sex couples from marrying in Utah and currently has 1,300 couples, who wed following the ban being struck down, currently in limbo. Crabb didn't want to see the state of Wisconsin go down a similar past.

The decision came much to the delight of Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen who said that his office will appeal Crabb's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He said, "By staying this ruling, she has confirmed that Wisconsin's law remains same-sex marriage remains in full force and effect."

Although the decision is disappointing for gay couples in the state of Wisconsin, it has also cleared up any uncertainty at county clerk offices. Crabb emphasized Friday that she did not give the green light for clerks to issue marriage licenses stating, "Those county clerks were essentially acting on their own when they decided to issue marriage licenses. I never told them not to, but I never told them they could do it."

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