Same-sex couples began getting married in Wisconsin today within minutes of a federal judge's striking down the state's gay marriage ban and despite confusion over the effect of the ruling. Clerks in Madison and Milwaukee started marrying same-sex couples this evening. They did so even though both Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen and Chris Ahmuty, director of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law in court, said the ruling did not clear the way for marriages to begin. Van Hollen said that in light of clerks going ahead with marriages, he would file emergency motions in federal courts to put today's order on hold. Van Hollen did not say when he would ask for the emergency order. Click for more.
Meanwhile, seven couples filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in North Dakota, making it the last state in the country to be sued by couples seeking the right to marry in their home state. The suit challenges both North Dakota's constitutional ban on gay marriage and its refusal to recognize marriages of same-sex couples who legally wed in other states. The 2004 voter-approved constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was passed by 73% of voters, and legal experts said the lawsuit is largely symbolic, but could carry more serious weight. Click for more.