A federal lawsuit filed in Madison this week seeks to settle the question of whether the almost 600 gay marriages performed in Wisconsin earlier this year should be legally recognized.
The marriage licenses were issued in early June, during the brief window after Federal Judge Barbara Crabb ruled Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. County clerks across the state began issuing licenses almost immediately after the ruling, although Crabb put a stay on the decision a week later while the state appealed. The new lawsuit seeks a legal declaration that the weddings performed during that time period are valid.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said they were not valid. At one point, he said prosecutors could criminally charge county clerks who issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples, although he backed off from those statements a short time later. The state Justice Department has not commented on the new lawsuit.
A federal appeals court recently affirmed Judge Crabb’s ruling. The state is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make a final decision.