Gay and lesbian couples started
marrying in two Wisconsin counties after a federal judge on Friday
struck down the state's ban on gay marriage.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb
released her 88-page ruling late Friday just as PrideFest,
Milwaukee's annual three-day Gay Pride festival, opened in Henry
Maier Festival Park.
Crabb's order asked plaintiff couples
what they wanted her to block, instead of ordering the state to allow
gay couples to marry.
Republican Attorney General J.B. Van
Hollen said the ruling did not clear the way for such weddings to
begin. He also filed an emergency request to stay the decision as
the state pursues an appeal.
Clerks in Madison (Dane County) and
Milwaukee (Milwaukee County) began issuing marriage licenses to gay
couples on Friday and continued on Saturday.
The union of Jose Fernando Gutierrez
and Mathew Schreck in Milwaukee is believed to be the state's first
In making its request for a stay, the
state argued that Crabb's ruling had created confusion and a
“The Milwaukee and Dane County
clerks' issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples this
weekend creates the non-uniform result that some same-sex couples can
marry and others cannot,” Hollen
Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno told the
Bay Press-Gazette that she is not ready to start issuing
marriage licenses to gay couples.
Voters in 2006 approved a
constitutional amendment which prohibits the state from recognizing
same-sex couples with marriage or anything substantially similar.