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Gay marriages begin in Wisconsin after ruling

MADISON, Wis. — Same-sex couples began getting married in Wisconsin on Friday after a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban and despite confusion over the effect of the ruling.

Clerks in Madison and Milwaukee began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples shortly after 5 p.m., a little over an hour after the judge released her ruling. Judges were on hand at both courthouses to perform ceremonies.

"I'm still up in the clouds!" Shari Roll said after she married Renee Currie a block from the state Capitol.

Court officials conducted the marriages even though Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the ruling did not clear the way for weddings to begin and sought an emergency order in federal court to stop them. Van Hollen said confusion and uncertainty had resulted from the judge's decision and the status quo must be preserved.

Gay rights activists have won 15 consecutive lower court cases since a landmark Supreme Court ruling last summer, with Wisconsin being the latest. Many of those rulings are being appealed.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb declared the gay marriage ban unconstitutional. But she also created confusion by asking the couples who sued to describe exactly what they wanted her to block in the law. She said she would later decide whether to put her decision on hold while it is appealed.

Clerks were keeping their offices open until 9 p.m. in Madison and Milwaukee to issue marriage licenses. It wasn't immediately known whether marriages were happening elsewhere in Wisconsin.

Gay marriages begin in Wisconsin after ruling 06/06/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 6, 2014 11:11pm]
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