Same-sex marriage ruling brings legal confusion, disagreement - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Same-sex marriage ruling brings legal confusion, disagreement

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MADISON (WKOW) -- U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb may have ruled Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but it is very unclear whether or not her order immediately struck it down.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is convinced Judge Crabb's ruling keeps the ban in place for now, but the ACLU of Wisconsin disagrees.

Two of the eight plaintiff couples in the lawsuit challenging the ban joined ACLU of Wisconsin Development Director Kristin Hansen on the steps of the Capitol late Friday afternoon, proclaiming victory.

ACLU attorneys chose not to advise county clerks on whether or not to immediately issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but believe Judge Crabb's ruling doesn't prevent that either.

"She did not include in that any specific instructions to clerks of court.  That left it up to them and their attorneys to decide whether or not they think they can now issue licenses as there is no longer a constitutional amendment standing in their way," said Hansen.

But Van Hollen released a statement saying Judge Crabb's ruling does not leave it up to clerks.  Van Hollen said she explicitly refrained from issuing any injunctive relief at this point.

In her order, Judge Crabb asks the plaintiffs to submit to her what they would like to see in an injunction by June 16th.  Because of that provision, Van Hollen said its clear Judge Crabb means to hold off on any relief until she hears back from them.

"And we will be clarifying in an additional request for order from her that probably will be submitted, like I said, as soon as possible saying very specifically what we want now that the ban has been found unconstitutional," said Hansen.

As a result of Dane County and Milwaukee County issuing marriage licenses just hours after the ruling, Van Hollen filed an emergency motion asking Judge Crabb to stay her ruling.

Van Hollen specifically asked Judge Crabb to schedule an emergency hearing by phone to clarify her order as well.
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