Gay couples across Wisconsin rushed to secure marriage licenses today, hoping to win legal recognition of their relationships ahead of an expected hold on a ruling that the state's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. US District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison struck down the ban Friday in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the prohibition. But she didn't order county clerks to begin issuing licenses or block them from handing them out. She said she wants the ACLU to draft an order for her spelling out how the organization wants her decision implemented.
Her stance has left county clerks to decide on their own whether they can legally issue licenses to same-sex couples. Clerks in Milwaukee and Madison, the state's liberal hubs, began issuing licenses to same-sex couples within hours of the ruling. Together the counties issued 238 licenses on Friday and Saturday. According to the ACLU, at least 20 of Wisconsin's 72 counties were issuing licenses as of this afternoon. Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen asked Crabb to issue an emergency stay barring clerks from issuing licenses while he appeals the constitutionality decision. "There is absolutely no reason to allow Wisconsin's county clerks to decide for themselves," he said. Click for more on the story. (Read more gay marriage stories.)