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Wednesday

July 2014

30

Same-sex marriages performed in Waukesha County

People were lined up at the Waukesha County Courthouse on Monday morning, waiting for the County Clerk's Office to open for the first time since a federal judge ruled Friday that Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathleen Novack said activity at her office Monday came in bursts.

"We were busy first thing in the morning," she said. "But we actually only issued six licenses (by 11:30 a.m. Monday), although a number of couples had to go home and get required documents," she explained.

Novack said 10 to 12 couples came in for licenses Monday morning.

"We have received a lot of phone calls with questions, so there may be more coming throughout the day," she added.

State appeals decision

Lawyers for the state on Monday morning filed an appeal and a motion to stay the federal judge's decision, but the motion was denied.

The appeal and motion, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, based in Chicago, asked the appeals court to put a hold on a decision issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb overturning Wisconsin's state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The state's lawyers said that in her ruling, Crabb did not issue an injunction blocking the law and did not rule on the state's previous motion for an immediate stay on her ruling.

Novack said couples have been made aware of the possiblity of a change.

"We want to make sure they're cautioned to a certain degree that they may have some legal issues ahead of them, but we decided that, well, let's just say that we have a lot of happy people here," she said.

Some praise decision

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin hailed the decision on marriage equity in a news release issuedMonday.

"Love is love, family is family, and discriminating against anyone's love, against anyone's family, is just plain wrong. Wisconsin can proudly say that discrimination doesn't just violate our values, it violates our Constitution. And now we can proudly say that marriage equality will be the law of the land in Wisconsin," she said.

"This federal court decision reaffirms our founding belief that all Americans are created equal under the law. It's about fairness, about whether gay and lesbian Americans deserve to be treated just like their family members, their friends and their neighbors. It's about opportunity, about whether every American gets to dream the same dreams, chase the same ambitions and have the same shot at success. And it's about freedom, the freedom to love, the freedom to commit, the freedom to build a family.

"We believe that history only moves in one direction: Forward. It's our state motto and this is a huge step forward for Wisconsin being a place where every family's love and commitment can be recognized and respected under the law."

The Rev. Carol Taylor, pastor at First Congregational United Church of Christ, Hartland, said that although their church embraces all people, they have not been contacted — yet — about performing a same-sex wedding.

"Yes, the United Church of Christ has a long history of welcoming all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Our denomination has ordained LGBTQ persons since 1972," she noted.

"At this point in time, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Hartland, does not have any same-gender marriages on our calendar. We would be delighted to host weddings of same-gender couples who seek to declare their love for God and one another and to enter into the covenant of marriage with God's help and blessing," the pastor added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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