Dane Co. couples issued licenses after same-sex marriage ruling - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dane Co. couples issued licenses after same-sex marriage ruling

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MADISON (WKOW) -- As soon as news that a federal judge struck down Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage couples started gathering at the Dane County Clerk's Office to get their marriage licenses.


U.S. Judge Barbara Crabb's ruling that the ban is unconstitutional came out late Friday afternoon. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen insists the ruling does not give county clerks the authority to start issuing licenses right away, but Dane County officials decided to stay open until 9 p.m. to start issuing licenses to same-sex couples who showed up.

61 couples got licenses in Dane County, including Renee Currie and Shari Roll, who were first in line.

"The courthouse was empty, there was nobody here," Roll told 27 News as the couple waited to get their license. "We didn't know if we were in the right spot or not or if we were dreaming."

 The couple has been together 13 years and although they held a commitment ceremony 10 years ago, they wanted to make it legal. They were the first to marry in Dane County on the steps of the City County Building.

"It's a good day for Wisconsin, it's a great day," says Currie.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell says couples who are legally married in other states will now be recognized here. Couples who show up can pay a fee to waive the state's required 6-day waiting period.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi hosted a news conference Friday afternoon celebrating the ruling.

"This is a happy and historic day here in Wisconsin," Parisi says. "The county executive's office fully supports issuing licenses & fully supports the county clerk's office in this endeavor."

The judge's ruling was expected and Dane County officiants were ready. At least a dozen showed up to officiate weddings if needed.

"We've been looking at the possibility of this happening for a couple of weeks and that's why there's a few of us now we had sort of prepared for this," says Dane County Court Commissioner Dan Floeter.

At least for now, the 61 couples joined same-sex couples in 19 other states in the right to legally marry.

"It's legitimizing what we've known for a long time, which is that we're already committed to each other but to have it state-recognized is really important," says Emily Kokie, who married her partner Kathleen Horning outside the City County Building Friday.

Milwaukee County officials also decided to start issuing licenses Friday night.

Dane County Clerk's Office will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to continue issuing licenses. Visit the office's website for details of what paperwork is needed to obtain a marriage license.

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