A federal judge on Friday struck down
Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage, saying it was unconstitutional.
“In reaching this decision, I do not
mean to disparage the legislators and citizens who voted in good
conscience for the marriage amendment,” U.S. District Judge Barbara
Crabb wrote in her 88-page
decision. “Rather, it is necessary to conclude only that the
state may not intrude without adequate justification on certain
fundamental decisions made by individuals and that, when the state
does impose restrictions on these important matters, it must do so in
an even-handed manner.”
“This case is about liberty and
equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United
States constitution,” she added.
It was uncertain whether the decision
would take effect immediately.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to
Marry, applauded Crabb's ruling.
“Today’s decision out of Wisconsin
marks the twentieth consecutive ruling by a federal or state judge
since last year that a discriminatory state marriage ban is
unconstitutional,” Wolfson said in a statement. “Across the
country, the courts agree: same-sex couples and their families need
the dignity of marriage, and anti-marriage laws are indefensible.
With over 70 marriage cases now making their way through the courts,
today's decision in Wisconsin underscores that all of America is
ready for the freedom to marry. It's time now for the Supreme Court
to bring resolution nationwide.”
According to the AP, Milwaukee County
Clerk Joe Czarnezki said he would keep his office open Friday evening
in hopes he's given the green light to begin issuing marriage
applications to gay couples. Wisconsin has a 5-day waiting period,
but clerks can consider waiving the requirement with a $25 fee.
Czarnezki said his office would waive the waiting period for gay
Voters in 2006 approved a
constitutional amendment which prohibits the state from recognizing
same-sex couples with marriage or anything substantially similar.
(Brief provided by Equality