Requires clerks to issue licenses to same-sex couples; but stays decision

June 13, 2014

MADISON, Wis. – On June 6, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb struck down the discriminatory amendment to the Wisconsin state constitution preventing same-sex couples from marrying.  Today, she held a hearing on the injunctive language proposed by the ACLU of Wisconsin as well as Attorney General Van Hollen’s request to ‘stay’ her decision.  In the meantime, more than 60 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties have started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Judge Crabb said:

 “After seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media reports, I find it difficult to impose a stay on the event that is responsible for eliciting that emotion, even if the stay is only temporary. Same-sex couples have waited many years to receive equal treatment under the law, so it is understandable that they do not want to wait any longer. However, a federal district court is required to follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court. Because I see no way to distinguish this case from Herbert, I conclude that I must stay any injunctive relief pending appeal.”

Judge Crabb issued the decision to stay her opinion pending the State’s appeal to the 7th Circuit.  This means that, for the time being, Wisconsin counties will have to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

ACLU Client Roy Badger said, “After nearly four decades together, Garth and I had kind of lost hope that we’d ever be able to get married — it’s always seemed like such a long shot. But since Judge Crabb’s decision, and seeing gay and lesbian couples getting married in Wisconsin, we have hope. We hope we can once and for all bring love and equality to the Badger State!”

“We are very pleased with the court’s ruling, which will ensure that same-sex couples can marry and receive the spousal protections that have been denied them for so very long.  In light of the stay, we will do everything we can to expedite the case for a quick ruling on appeal. This is about basic liberty and equality for people who are being harmed daily by laws which deny them and their families the same basic protections and respect that other couples take for granted,” said John Knight, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project.

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the discriminatory ban on behalf of eight couples seeking the freedom to marry in Wisconsin or to have their out-of-state marriages recognized. More information about this case can be found at:  

The ACLU of Wisconsin is a non-profit, non-partisan, private organization whose 7,000 members support its efforts to defend the civil rights and liberties of all Wisconsin residents. For more on the ACLU of Wisconsin, visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @ACLUofWisconsin.


 [Decision attached]                                           ###