Wisconsin Same-Sex Marriages Put On Hold

Jim Burroway

June 16th, 2014

Federal District Juidge Barbara Crabb, who earlier had ruled that Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriages violated the U.S. Constitution, has issued her injunction on Friday which also includes a stay.

Judge Crabb’s earlier ruling was unusual in that, unlike other rulings, hers did not include an injunction compelling the state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Instead, Judge Crabb asked the parties to submit proposed language for an injunction that would follow in a couple of weeks. The original deadline for those proposals was today,but when Dane and Milwaukee Counties decided to begin issuing marriage licenses even in the absence of an injunction, Judge Crab accelerated her timetable. By the time she issued her injunction and stay on Friday, some five out of every six Wisconsin counties were issuing licenses. Judge Crabb’s injunction does order state and county officials to issue marriage licenses, but she also accompanied that order with a stay pending appeal:

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. Because I see no way to distinguish this case from Herbert, I conclude that I must stay any injunctive relief pending appeal.

The remaining question is whether the stay should include all relief, including the declaration, rather than just the injunction. Although I remain dubious that it is necessary to “stay” declaratory relief, I understand that there has been much confusion among county clerks regarding the legal effect of the declaration. To avoid further confusion among theclerks, I will issue a stay of all relief.


June 16th, 2014

“…some five out of six Wisconsin counties were issuing licenses…”

Wisconsin has 72 counties. My understanding is that nearly all of them were issuing licenses before Friday’s stay.

Jim Burroway

June 16th, 2014

Yes, five out of every six would be nearly all, but not quite all. (I’ve updated to wording to clarify) I didn’t have a final count, but I do recall seeing that the number had crossed sixty.


June 16th, 2014

I believe the final number was 63 when the stay was issued.


June 16th, 2014

If the underlined “Herbert” in the quote is meant to be a link, it is not active.

Also, how does this ruling affect the marriages that were entered into over the last week?


June 17th, 2014

I found this item to be very confusing and hard to follow – I’m not sure if it’s the way it is written or the judge’s logic/explanation of her decision. Like everything relating to these forward and back rulings – there is little clarity. But this is particularly problematic.

enough already

June 17th, 2014

I do appreciate the succinct and cogent wording of your articles.
I believe Judge Crabb originally made a mistake: She assumed court clerks and district attorneys were actually still the well-educated and competent professionals of her youth.
She corrected that mistake in this stay.

I hope we win this one (I hope we win all of them). It’s about time this nonsense of pretending my country is a far-right ultra-conservative Republican Christian theocracy be stopped.

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