Judge overturns Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban
MADISON - A federal judge has ruled that Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Wisconsin's voters passed a constitutional ban against same-sex marriages in 2006, but the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin, and the law firm of Mayer Brown filed a lawsuit on behalf of eight Wisconsin couples challenging the ban.
Part of Friday's ruling reads:
"It is DECLARED that art. XIII, § 13 of the Wisconsin Constitution violates plaintiffs' fundamental right to marry and their right to equal protection of laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constiution."
The state motioned to stay the trial in March and to dismiss it in April, but both motions were denied. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen requested an emergency stay in the case that would block marriages from going forward.
“As Attorney General, I have an obligation to uphold Wisconsin law and our Constitution," Van Hollen said. "While today’s decision is a setback, we will continue to defend the constitutionality of our traditional marriage laws and the constitutional amendment, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. I will appeal."
Despite Van Hollen's statement, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele ordered that the Courthouse stay open late Friday and early Saturday morning to allow for marriages to be performed.
The ruling came just as PrideFest Milwaukee kicked off Friday. The three-day event runs through Sunday.
The ACLU of Wisconsin first broke the news Friday on Twitter: