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Federal judge stays same-sex ruling, halting marriages in Wisconsin

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Michael Vinson, left, and Todd Kane, middle, both of Green Bay, sign marriage papers outside the Brown County Courthouse June 9, 2014. The two became the first male same-sex couple to marry in Brown County. (Photo from: FOX 11).
Michael Vinson, left, and Todd Kane, middle, both of Green Bay, sign marriage papers outside the Brown County Courthouse June 9, 2014. The two became the first male same-sex couple to marry in Brown County. (Photo from: FOX 11).

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - There will be no more same-sex marriages in Wisconsin, unless higher courts affirm Federal Judge Barbara Crabb's decision to allow them.

Friday, Crabb finalized her ruling from a week ago, which found that the state's gay marriage ban from 2006 was unconstitutional. However, she issued a stay of that ruling -- which means the ban will remain in effect until the state is done with its appeals.

Crabb made it clear she wanted to legalize gay marriage now, but she could not do so because stays were issued in similar cases in other states. She said she had no choice but to follow the U.S. Supreme Court's guidance in the matter.

As Crabb wrote, "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."

As of late Thursday, almost 600 same-sex couples were married in 60 of Wisconsin's 72 counties. Crabb did not indicate whether those marriages would stay valid.

The U.S. Supreme Court could settle the issue as early as next year, as similar cases from other states are also heading toward the nation's highest court.  

If Crabb's ruling is eventually upheld, same-sex couples would get the same tax, adoption, and pension benefits as heterosexual married couples. That's because Crabb ordered the governor and the state registrar to treat gay couples the same.

(Additional reporting by Wheeler News Service)

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