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First same-sex couple to get married in Eau Claire Co. releases statement

By: Meghan Kulig, Lindsay Alowairdi, Nikki Junewicz, and AP Email
By: Meghan Kulig, Lindsay Alowairdi, Nikki Junewicz, and AP Email
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The first same-sex couple to get a marriage license in Eau Claire County got married Tuesday.

County Clerk, Janet Loomis, says Christopher Schlicher and Erik Thibado went to the courthouse to get their license at 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, right after the county announced it would start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. They released the following statement:

"Being the first same-sex marriage license filed and legally performed in Eau Claire is a milestone for progress. It is a continuation of progress made by other local couples married out-of-state or out-of-country prior to Judge Crabb’s ruling.

We did not intend to broadcast our relationship. In a perfect world, a wedding announcement and invitations to friends and family would suffice. Because this is a first, however, people have come to us asking for our story. While we appreciate the interest, our relationship is between us. It’s the marriage that is public record.

“Marriage” may seem like just a word, but consider this -- would you want anyone to take the word “married” away from you and be told you could never have the word back? Until now, that is what happened to many people in this state because of who they found themselves in love with.

We are now afforded many things that opposite-sex spouses may take for granted: guaranteed hospital visitation without legal paperwork, joint insurances, and true joint property ownership. We can now easily refinance our home in both of our names without the additional fees of a quitclaim deed or other legal intervention. We now rest assured knowing that, should anything happen to either of us, the other would automatically inherit everything – without the cost & delay of probate and without interference from the state for any reason.

These may sound like simple, obvious things that everyone could do. But without marriage, they are neither simple nor cheap.

Whether you are for or against same-sex marriage, you are entitled to your opinion. There will always be people with different opinions. Never in the course of human history has there ever been or will there ever be 100% agreement by everybody on everything. It is how that disagreement is handled which shows the character of an individual and a society.

For more than 15 years we have stood united in life, and now we finally have it on paper. Whether or not it stays legal is not for us to decide. We have done our part to stand up to be counted, and now we are each other’s husbands."

Clerks in 49 Wisconsin counties are now issuing licenses to same-sex couples who want to get married. Some counties who had not been accepting applications for licenses started doing so Monday afternoon, after a federal judge refused a state request to halt gay marriages in Wisconsin.

Hundreds of same-sex couples have wed since Friday, when U.S. District Judge, Barbara Crabb, said the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Some county clerks say they are in limbo because the judge did not order anyone to start issuing licenses, but did not order a stop to issuing them either.
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MILWAUKEE (AP)--The number of Wisconsin counties issuing licenses to same-sex couples who want to get married is up to 49.

Shawano County Clerk Rosemary Rueckert and Eau Claire County Clerk Janet Loomis said Tuesday that their offices are now accepting applications for licenses.

At nearly the same time, an employee in the Sawyer County clerk's office said the clerk there had decided to wait until there was more definite direction from the state.

County clerks have been struggling to decide what to do after a federal judge declared the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional but did not tell the state how to implement her decision. Some clerks have been issuing licenses, while others say they will wait for more definite guidance.

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A canvass by The Associated Press found 49 of Wisconsin's 72 counties were issuing licenses for gay couples to marry as of Tuesday afternoon. Some are also waiving the five-day waiting period for people to get a license. Here's a breakdown of which counties are issuing licenses and which are not:

Counties issuing licenses:

Adams

Ashland

Bayfield

Brown

Buffalo

Burnett

Calumet

Clark

Columbia

Crawford

Dane

Dodge

Door

Douglas

Dunn

Eau Claire

Florence

Fond du Lac

Forest

Grant

Green

Iowa

Iron

Jackson

Jefferson

Juneau

Kenosha

La Crosse

Langlade

Lincoln

Manitowoc

Marquette

Milwaukee

Monroe

Oneida

Outagamie

Pepin

Pierce

Polk

Rock

Rusk

Sauk

Shawano

Sheboygan

Taylor

Trempealeau

Vilas

Waukesha

Wood

Counties that are not issuing licenses:

Barron

Chippewa

Green Lake

Kewaunee

Lafayette

Marathon

Marinette

Menominee

Oconto

Ozaukee

Portage

Price

Racine

Richland

St. Croix

Sawyer

Vernon

Walworth

Washburn

Washington

Waupaca

Waushara

Winnebago


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