Rush on marriage licenses ends for Wisconsin same-sex couples

CREATED Jun 10, 2014

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MILWAUKEE – County clerks report a significant drop on Tuesday in the number of same same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses.

The rush appears to have come and gone.

Shortly before closing, just three gay couples received marriage licenses in Milwaukee County on Tuesday.  The same county recorded 68 same-sex marriage licenses on Friday, 78 on Saturday, and 37 on Monday.

Lori Heinrich and April Kohnke said their vows in small claims court, hardly the ceremony they envisioned.

“I obviously would have chosen to have worn something a little fancier than jeans and a white T-shirt,” Kohnke told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.

Couples acted quickly, fearing their time will run out.

“It’s scary, because we don’t know if it’s going to get turned over in a day or two and we can’t do it,” Heinrich said.

Brookfield attorney Kathleen Hume specializes in LGBT law.  She anticipates the courts will put a hold on same sex marriages.

“In all probability, we’re looking at a federal stay,” Hume said.  “Many of the first people are people who had been partners for a long period of time; 15, 20, 30 years.  They saw this as perhaps their only chance.”

Bob Lemmer and Steven Michalowski have been a couple for a long time, but their window to get married may be short.

“It really feels bad and unjust that people who love each other, have been together for so long, have to rush out and make their commitment legal,” Michalowski said.

Several counties have yet to issue any marriage licenses, citing the legal uncertainties surrounding the court’s decision.