UPDATE: Dells wedding chapel prepares to marry same-sex couples - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Dells wedding chapel prepares to marry same-sex couples

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WISCONSIN DELLS (WKOW) -- Wisconsin is waiting on a court ruling that could come any day to possibly strike down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

The ACLU filed a federal legal challenge to the ban in February and last week Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he expected U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to overturn it.

Based on that, local businesses and governments are readying themselves for same-sex couples rushing in to get married.

The Dells Bells Wedding Chapel has been sounding the bell for same-sex couples for ten years.

"We've always offered commitment ceremonies, we just haven't been able to give them the civil rights associated with the marriage license," said Tara Joles, who owns Dells Bells with her husband.

The Joles are now getting ready to sign marriage licenses for those couples who took advantage of those past commitment ceremonies, but they're also looking forward to embracing an influx of new customers.

"I think there's a surge of desire to do the ceremony for people who haven't done it before, because they didn't want to do a non-legally binding ceremony, so that's where the influx is gonna be," said Joles.

Dells Bells has even added a new minister to officiate same-sex weddings in the Madison area.

"A lot of people like the minister-to-go option because they have a sentimental location and a lot of resort type weddings," said Joles.

It's not just wedding chapels, but also government offices that are getting ready.  The Dane County Clerk is prepping for two to three hundred couples to come in on the day of the ruling.

"We kicked it into gear and got organized, and now we're ready," said Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell.  "We could take a ruling today, tomorrow, next week, two weeks and we'd be ok and we'd be able to handle it."

That will mean added hours for staff and extra hours of operation.

"On a weekday, we'd stay open til 9 at night and then be open again at 8 in the morning the next day. If its a Friday, we'll be open on Saturday," said McDonell.

But for now its still ready, set, wait.
 
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WISCONSIN DELLS (WKOW) -- With a federal judge expected to rule soon on the constitutionality of the state's same-sex marriage ban, the Dells Bells Wedding Chapel is making sure it is ready to marry hundreds of couples as soon the ban is overturned.

Dells Bells owner Tara Joles says she has hired extra staff specifically to accommodate same-sex couples in Dane County, who can use the chapel's "minister to go" option to get married anywhere they want in the Madison area.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb is expected to rule on the ban any day now in a challenge brought by the ACLU on behalf four same-sex couples.

Dells Bells Wedding Chapel has always offered non-binding commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples and Joles says those couples were guaranteed a free marriage license validation when the law allowed. 

"We feel certain that day is upon us and we are eager to hear from our couples and new couples who are going to benefit from this civil rights movement," said Joles.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have more on this story tonight on 27 News at 5 and 6.


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