Dane Co. clerk's office prepping for same-sex marriages - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dane Co. clerk's office prepping for same-sex marriages

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County clerk's office is getting ready in case a federal judge overturns Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Dane County officials are expecting 200 to 300 couples to seek licenses within the first two days if a federal judge overturns the ban. County Clerk Scott McDonell plans to triple office staff and extend office hours if needed.

McDonell says he began planning on Friday after Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen indicated that he expects Wisconsin to become the latest state to overturn the ban.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports McDonell said he talked with judges and court commissioners about performing ceremonies immediately after an overturn if it happens because the register of deeds and clerk of courts offices have to be prepared for the higher amount of traffic that will happen.

If a ban is overturned Friday, McDonell says he'll have office hours into the weekend.

In February, the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of four couples challenging Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage.  Four other couples have joined the suit.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb placed the case on a fast track.

Same-sex couples can get married in 18 states and in D.C.  Illinois is overturning the ban on Sunday.

Van Hollen says he would appeal to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals if Crabb overturns the ban or any part of it.  Van Hollen also said that Crabb should put any ruling against the ban on hold while an appeal is pending to prevent officials from issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

There is a six-day waiting period that a couple must wait between the issuance of a marriage license and when they can actually be married, though the waiting period can be waived with a fee for some circumstances, which McDonell says the potential for reinstatement of the ban would qualify as a circumstance for eliminated the waiting period.

Milwaukee County Clerk Joseph J. Czarnezki has made plans like McDonell. 

Since 2009, Wisconsin has offered same-sex couples a domestic partner registry that allows them certain legal rights.  In 2006, voters amended the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage or anything like it.


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