Wisconsin became the latest state to have its law banning gay marriage struck down on Friday, following a late afternoon decision in federal court overturning Wisconsin’s 2006 constitutional amendment. In her 88 page decision, Federal Judge Barbara Crabb wrote she was convinced “that plaintiffs are entitled to the same treatment as any heterosexual couple,” concluding that “Wisconsin laws banning marriage between same-sex couples are unconstitutional.”
The ruling resulted in a rush of gay couples to clerk’s offices in Madison and Milwaukee, even though Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen argued that the state’s ban remains in effect because Judge Crabb did not issue an immediate injunction. “I am encouraged by the District Court’s refusal to issue an immediate injunction. We have seen the disruption to couples and families throughout the United States when courts have first allowed same-sex marriage only to have those marriages subsequently called into question by another court.”
Friday’s decision brought an outpouring of enthusiastic reactions from both sides of the gay marriage debate.
AUDIO: U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin reacts to the news while at the Democratic State Convention in the Dells. :38
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the eight same sex couples who challenged Wisconsin’s ban, released a statement praising Judge Crabb’s decision. Attorney Larry Dupuis said “We are tremendously happy that these loving and committed couples will now be able to access the security and recognition that only marriage provides.”
Wisconsin Family Action, which helped advocate for the 2006 amendment, released a statement calling the ruling “deeply disappointing.” President Julaine Appling said “With a single stroke of a single judge’s pen, marriage has been turned on its head in Wisconsin.”
Van Hollen had preemptively asked Crabb to automatically stay her decision if she overturned the ban. While the judge did not do that, she did give the eight couples who filed the lawsuit until June 16 to offer up a proposal for an injunction. With some county clerks already issuing licenses on Friday though, Van Hollen filed an emergency order asking for a stay to Judge Crabb’s order.
AUDIO: Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate reacts to the news while addressing the party faithful at their annual meeting. 1:32