Federal Judge Pulls a Utah, Puts Wisconsin Gay Marriage Ruling on Hold

Just a week after striking down the ban on same sex marriage, US District Court Judge Barbara Crabb ruled yesterday that her previous ruling must be put on hold pending an appeal from Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Because Crabb did not initially provide an injunction explaining how her original ruling should be interpreted, everything was sort of up in the air. There was a lot of inconsistency in how marriage licenses were issued. While some officials waived the five-day waiting period and immediately granted couples a license, other county clerks refused to grant licenses, and couples who were in the middle of the waiting period will simply be left hanging during the stay.

Apparently Crabb's lack of directive was the perfect opportunity for Van Hollen, who claimed that because Crabb didn't issue an order explaining how to interpret her ruling, same sex couples with marriage licenses aren't legally married. He also claimed that clerks who issued licenses could be charged with a crime because they do not have the authority under Wisconsin law to issue them.

More than 500 couples in at least 41 (of 72) counties got their wedding licenses in the short window, though it is unclear where their status stands now. Unsurprisingly, pretty much everyone is disappointed, including Crabb herself, who stated:

"After seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media reports, I find it difficult to impose a stay on the event that is responsible for eliciting that emotion, even if the stay is only temporary."

...

"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. However, a federal district court is required to follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court."

Image via Getty.