State Office Begins Processing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Jun 11, 2014

Since Friday, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples have gone to Wisconsin courthouses to get married.

Yet their marriage licenses were not immediately being processed by the state’s Vital Records Office. Officials there said they were waiting for guidance from state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

On Wednesday, the office began processing the licenses. A spokeswoman for Gov. Scott Walker says “it’s incumbent upon” the Vital Records Office to fulfill its administrative duties.

Attorney General Van Hollen is fighting the decision last Friday by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to strike down the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Voters added it to the constitution in 2006.

On Friday, Crabb did not instruct the state on how to implement her ruling. Instead, she asked the ACLU to outline how it wants the ruling to be implemented. The ACLU sued the state over the ban, on behalf of eight same-sex couples.

Since then, the ACLU has responded, telling Crabb the organization wants the state to be required to allow same-sex marriages, and to recognize those performed in other states. Crabb is expected to hold a hearing on the ACLU’s proposal.

Meanwhile, Van Hollen is hoping the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago will order counties to stop allowing same-sex marriages, while he appeals Crabb’s ruling. The court has given the state and the ACLU until 5:00 Wednesday evening to file briefs with the court, on whether the court has jurisdiction.