Federal Judge Refuses To Issue Stay On Gay Marriage Ban Ruling

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb Says She Expects Stay Will Come From Court Of Appeals

The Robert W. Kastenmeier federal courthouse in Madison. Photo: Janet and Phil (CC-BY-NC-ND).

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb refused to issue a stay of her ruling that struck down Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

She said her ruling on the law is not final, and expects a stay will be issued before the case is finally resolved.

Crabb told attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union and the state Department of Justice that her Friday ruling did not tell county clerks across the state that they could issue marriage licenses – nor did it say they couldn’t. She said if the Department of Justice wants the clerks to stop, they should take up that issue in state court, not in federal.

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Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell says he will continue to issue licenses.

“We asked her to tell us and she passed on that, so once she invalidated the constitutional amendment and the statutes associated with that, there’s nothing I could say to a couple that came to my office who wanted to get married as to why they couldn’t get married.”

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollens sees it differently.

“We’ve been telling anyone who will listen that the law has not changed,” said Van Hollen.

Van Hollen said he expects that if Crabb does not stay the ruling, that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago will do it on Monday or Tuesday. Until then, county clerks in at least 19 counties are issuing licenses to gay couples while others are waiting for a more a definitive ruling.