County Clerks to hold off on same-sex marriage licenses until official ruling

U.S. Appeals Court rules Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

A unanimous vote puts same-sex couples in Wisconsin one step closer to being legally married in the state.

The U.S. Appeals Court ruled Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional but the battle isn’t over yet

Many people are shocked a ruling came down so quickly, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago only heard the case last week. Although a ruling has been made, state officials have time to appeal it.

To avoid the confusion that happened last time, the La Crosse County clerk said she isn’t doing anything until a final decision has been made.

“All over the board, everything and everyone was doing something different,” said Ginny Dankmeyer, La Crosse county clerk.

Dankmeyer remembers all too clearly what happened last time a judge ruled Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

“Last time we were left to make these decisions on your own and everyone was meeting with their corporation councils,” said Dankmeyer.

In June, U.S. District Judge Barbra Crabb struck down Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage, allowing couples to legally marry in the state, but Dankmeyer said county clerks were left in the dark.

“You were trying to determine what the ruling actually meant and everyone had to make your own decision on what you thought was the right thing to do,” said Dankmeyer.

For anyone applying for a marriage license, there is a five-day waiting period. At the time, many county clerks waved that and allowed same-sex couples to get married right away. However, Ginny decided to keep the waiting period in place.

“We did have nine same-sex couples come into apply and then the ruling was overturned and a stay was issued before we could actually issue any marriage licenses,” said Dankmeyer.

After a stay was issued, many same-sex couples who married during that time period wondered if their marriage was legal or not. That is why this time around, Dankmeyer, along with other county clerks across the state, is holding out for an official ruling.

“That way there’s no questions asked, there’s no confusion, if a marriage license is issued the couples not in limbo of whether it’s legal or not,” said Dankmeyer.

During the appeal process, the stay remains in place so county clerks will not be issuing any marriage licenses for the time being.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he does plan to make an appeal to the ruling, which will most likely head to the U.S. Supreme Court.