NEW INFORMATION: Several western WI counties among 41 issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

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ALMA, Wis. (WEAU) -

A ruling over Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban is leading to confusion, as counties offer their own interpretations on what to allow.

Friday, a U.S. District Judge ruled Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriages "unconstitutional" and some county clerks have since issued licenses.

Monday, the judge said she would not issue a stay blocking gay marriages in the state, but has not issued an injunction, leaving that interpretation open.

Forty-one of the state’s 72 counties say they will issue the licenses to couples who qualify. That includes at least four here in western Wisconsin.
But what's allowed could be in flux as more decisions and statements are given locally and state wide.

(Crabb) didn't, from my interpretation didn't intend for marriages to start, but to allow the courts to allow more info to be provided to them,” Eau Claire County Clerk Janet Loomis said.

“We decided that since the judge had made a ruling and there was no stay issued that we would go ahead, and begin issuing same sex marriage licenses,” Buffalo County Clerk Roxann Halverson said.

WEAU reached out to several western wisconsin counties, and found Jackson, Trempealeau, Dunn and Buffalo counties have decided to offer marriage licenses to gay couples.

But Halverson said with more rulings to come, that license might not stand.

“Should this state decide that the way law is written is the way it should be that there marriage in this mean time may not be valid and they may need to seek legal advice of their own to validate that marriage,” Halverson said.

None of those counties said they have had any applicants yet, and that at least one person must reside in the county to get a license.

Regardless of how it's interpreted, both Loomis and Halverson said they're looking for a clear message offering consistency.

“I would just like all the county clerks to get a final ruling so that we could all be on the same page,” Halverson said.

“We're 72 counties which all make up Wisconsin and we should all be handling those types of issues in the same way,” Loomis said.

Judge Crabb says she's waiting to hear from the American Civil Liberties Union before scheduling another hearing. The state Attorney General appealed her decision saying the marriage law is in full effect.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) --

More than half of the counties in Wisconsin are issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

County clerk offices in 41 of the state's 72 counties told The Associated Press on Monday that they were issuing licenses. Clerks in seven counties did not answer phone calls.

Many county clerks also are waiving the state's five-day waiting period so couples can marry in what may be a short window before ceremonies are halted by a court order.

Hundreds of couples have married since Friday when U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has asked an appeals court to stop the marriages while he appeals Crabb's decision.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Eau Claire, Chippewa, and Dunn County are among the Wisconsin counties that are not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as of Monday morning.

A federal judge declared Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Friday but did not order counties to start issuing licenses. Clerks in Madison and Milwaukee immediately began issuing licenses on Friday. A federal judge has scheduled a Monday afternoon hearing to consider Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's request late Friday to put her decision on hold and stop clerks from issuing licenses.

County Clerks in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and Menomonie all told WEAU 13 News they are waiting for direction from before issuing the licenses. The Clark County Clerk's Office said it was waiting to hear back from Vital Statistics in Madison, and wasn’t issuing the licenses before receiving that call. A Dunn County lawyer was reviewing the federal court decision on Monday morning. Eau Claire County received "a handful" of calls asking about marriage licenses for same-sex couples, but nobody had come to the office as of Monday morning. Dunn County had two calls as of Monday morning. The clerk's offices in Barron and Trempealeau County also said that they would not issue the licenses until receiving more direction on the issue.

The Jackson County Clerk's Office said Monday morning that it has decided that it will issue the licenses to same-sex couples. No same-sex couples had applied for a license there as of Monday morning. The Buffalo County Clerk's Office said it would also issue the licenses.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge has scheduled a hearing on the Wisconsin attorney general's request to put gay marriages on hold in the state.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb scheduled the hearing for 1 p.m. Monday. It's in response to an emergency request filed Friday night from Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Crabb ruled Friday that the state's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, leading clerks in Milwaukee and Madison to start issuing licenses to gay couples.

But Van Hollen believes that is premature given that Crabb's ruling didn't specifically tell county and state officials whether they could issue licenses.

Van Hollen is also expected to seek an emergency stay of Crabb's order in federal appeals court.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's attorney general is expected to petition a federal appeals court to stop county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen made a similar request of U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Friday after she overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban. Van Hollen is expected to petition the appeals court Monday.

Dozens of gay couples married Friday and Saturday at courthouses in Milwaukee and Madison, taking advantage of what many believed would be a small window in which to tie the knot before Crabb's decision could be put on hold.

Wisconsin voters amended the state constitution in 2006 to ban gay marriage. Crabb declared the ban unconstitutional in a lawsuit the ACLU filed on behalf of eight gay couples. Her decision, however, did not order counties to start issuing licenses.

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