A week after she declared Wisconsin's
ban on gay marriage invalid – opening the door for weddings to
start – a federal judge has brought same-sex nuptials in the state
to a halt, at least temporarily.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb last
week struck down Wisconsin's 2006 voter-approved constitutional
amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, but did not
order the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian
couples, leaving county clerks to decide on their own whether to
continue implementing the ban.
After holding a 30-minute hearing
Friday, Crabb ordered clerks to begin issuing licenses to gay
couples, but put her decision on hold pending an appeal.
“I conclude that Herbert v.
Kitchen compels me to stay the injunction,” she said in her
order, a reference to a December ruling stayed by the U.S. Supreme
Court that knocked down Utah's ban.
But Crabb made it clear that her heart
“After seeing the expressions of joy
on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media
reports, I find it difficult to impose a stay on the event that is
responsible for eliciting that emotion, even if the stay is only
temporary. Same-sex couples have waited many years to receive equal
treatment under the law, so it is understandable that they do not
want to wait any longer. However, a federal district court is
required to follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court,” she
Republican Governor Scott Walker told
WISN 12 NEWS that the roughly 555 marriages that have already taken
place in the state would remain valid. Republican governors in other
states, Utah and Michigan included, have decided the issue
differently, refusing to recognize unions which took place before
decisions striking down similar marriage bans were put on hold.