Eighty-eight percent of Wisconsin
Counties have issued marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples,
despite a federal judge saying they did not have to.
Only the state's two most liberal
counties – Dane, which includes Madison, and Milwaukee – issued
marriage licenses over the weekend after U.S. District Judge Barbara
Crabb on Friday declared invalid Wisconsin's 2006 voter-approved
constitutional amendment prohibiting state officials from recognizing
any union other than a heterosexual marriage.
On Monday, Crabb refused to stay her
ruling, adding that she had not ordered the state to begin issuing
licenses to gay couples. She had given the ACLU, which is
representing the 8 plaintiff couples in the challenge, until June 16
to tell her what parts of the law it wants her to block. That is,
she declared the amendment to be unconstitutional but did not
prohibit its enforcement, leaving counties to decide for themselves
whether to begin issuing licenses.
According to an
AP survey conducted Thursday, 63 out of Wisconsin's 72 county
clerks had issued 573 marriage licenses to gay couples.
Republican Attorney General J.B. Van
Hollen has asked Crabb and a federal appeals court to stay the ruling
as the state pursues an appeal in the case. Crabb has scheduled a
hearing for Friday, while the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
in Chicago could issue a ruling as early as Thursday.
Meanwhile, Republican Governor Scott
Walker was scheduled to make his first public appearance on Thursday
since Crabb handed down her ruling.
Walker has moderated his opposition on
marriage equality in recent months, sidestepping questions in May
about his position on the state's ban: “Voters don't talk to me
Polls show a majority (55%) of
registered voters favor allowing gay couples to marry. Mary Burke,
Walker's likely Democratic opponent for governor, on Thursday
applauded last week's marriage ruling.
“Marriage equality makes Wisconsin
stronger,” she said in a statement.