BREAKING: Federal Judge STRIKES DOWN Wisconsin Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

Via Milwaukee TMJ-TV:

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.”

Dig into the ruling here.

UPDATE: Via press release from the ACLU.

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb today struck down the discriminatory amendment to the Wisconsin state constitution preventing same-sex couples from marrying. The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law on behalf of eight couples seeking the freedom to marry in Wisconsin or to have their out-of-state marriages recognized. Two of the plaintiffs, Kami Young and Karina Willes of West Milwaukee, were legally married last year in Minnesota and have a newborn daughter. But because Young is the birth mother, she is the only one who is recognized as the legal parent on the birth certificate.

“Our daughter has two parents who love her dearly,” said Willes. “I am no less a mother to her than Kami is, and she deserves the security of having both of her parents legally recognized. Our daughter shouldn’t have second-class protections.” “We are tremendously happy that these loving and committed couples will now be able to access the security and recognition that only marriage provides,” said Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “These discriminatory laws are falling around the country and it is only right that Wisconsin move forward as well.”

UPDATE II: The ruling addresses a possible stay.

Plaintiffs may have until June 16, 2014, to submit a proposed injunction that complies with the requirement in Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(1)(C) to “describe in reasonable detail . . . the act or acts restrained or required.” In particular, plaintiffs should identify what they want each named defendant to do or be enjoined from doing. Defendants may have one week from the date plaintiffs file their proposed injunction to file an opposition. If defendants file an opposition, plaintiffs may have one week from that date to file a reply in support of their proposed injunction. I will address defendants’ pending motion to stay the injunction after the parties have had an opportunity to file materials related to the proposed injunction. If the parties wish, they may have until June 16, 2014, to supplement their materials related to that motion in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Geiger v. Kitzhaber not to grant a stay in that case.

That might mean no immediate marriages. Stand by…

UPDATE III: From the office of Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI):

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), a co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, today issued the following statement on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin’s ruling that Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional: “The federal district court in Madison took another step toward ensuring full equality for every American. It is clear the growing momentum of support for marriage equality will put an end to discriminatory laws that treat LGBT couples as second-class citizens. In ruling after ruling, it has become unmistakable that the promise of America is everyone should be treated equally and with dignity. Today’s ruling brings us one step closer to fulfilling that promise.” A tireless advocate for the rights of the LGBT community, Pocan has been married to his husband Phil since 2006.

UPDATE IV: Via press release from Freedom To Marry.

“Today’s decision out of Wisconsin marks the twentieth consecutive ruling by a federal or state judge since last year that a discriminatory state marriage ban is unconstitutional. Across the country, the courts agree: same-sex couples and their families need the dignity of marriage, and anti-marriage laws are indefensible. With over 70 marriage cases now making their way through the courts, today’s decision in Wisconsin underscores that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry. It’s time now for the Supreme Court to bring resolution nationwide.”

UPDATE V: How’s THIS for timing? Milwaukee Pride is THIS weekend.

UPDATE VI: County clerks are trying to figure this out.

It wasn’t clear whether U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb’s 88-page ruling cleared the way for same-sex marriages to begin immediately. But the ruling makes Wisconsin the 27th state where same-sex couples can marry under law or where a judge has ruled they ought to be allowed to wed. County clerks in Milwaukee and Madison said they had just learned of the decision and were trying to figure out if and when they could begin issuing marriage licenses. Milwaukee County Clerk Joe Czarnezki said he was keeping his office open while an attorney reviewed the decision in case he could begin accepting marriage licenses Friday evening.