ACLU Asks Judge To Lift Stay On Ruling That Struck Down Gay Marriage Ban

Attorney Larry Dupuis Says District Judge Barbara Crabb Should End Legal Limbo For More Than 500 Same-Sex Couples Who Were Married In June

Above, one of the couples married soon after the gay marriage ban in Wisconsin was struck down by a federal judge. Photo: Light Brigading (CC-BY-SA).

Lawyers for same-sex couples in Wisconsin are asking U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to lift a stay on her ruling that struck down the state’s gay marriage ban.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Larry Dupuis said the motion filed with U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb will help end a legal limbo that more than 500 same-sex couples who were married in June find themselves in. He said that limbo is being prolonged by the delay in filing an appeal, which causes problems for couples with children especially.

“Our clients and other folks in Wisconsin who want to be able to get married or have their marriages recognized are being harmed every day that this goes undecided,” said Dupuis. “Particularly people with children, but others as well.”

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Dupuis said the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled this week in a challenge to Indiana’s gay marriage ban that it’s unnecessary for district courts to place stays on these rulings until after a final decision is made. Dupuis also accused Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen of dragging his feet on filing an appeal so the issue can be resolved.

“He says it’s his obligation to defend the Wisconsin Constitution, but then by not appealing he’s effectively letting the court of appeals reach this issue with the Indiana case rather than Wisconsin’s law,” said Dupuis.

In a recent interview, Van Hollen made it clear that he will appeal before the end of the month and that he believes it’s a coin toss whether the ban will be upheld.

“How do you not defend laws and a Constitution that might ultimately be upheld?” said Van Hollen. “I think that would be the worst egg you could have on your face — is to throw in the towel and then win.”

In an email from his office this week, Van Hollen said the timing of an appeal won’t be affected by the ACLU’s impatience.