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UPDATE: Judge denies motion to stay marriage case

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 25, 2014 --- 6:24 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge has denied a motion by the state to stay the case involving the constitutionality of Wisconsin's marriage amendment.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Monday said delaying the case would serve no purpose. The state filed a motion earlier this month asking that the case be stayed until the Wisconsin Supreme Court rules on the domestic partner registry.

The State Journal reports Crabb says the state has not explained specifically how the registry case is likely to change issues in the marriage amendment challenge. The amendment adopted in 2006 defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Eight same-sex couples have sued state officials, challenging the constitutionality of the amendment.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, March 20, 2014 --- 5:01 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State attorneys have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's gay marriage ban.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of a group of gay couples. They allege the ban is unconstitutional and state law makes it a crime for gay couples who marry out-of-state to return to Wisconsin.

State Justice Department attorneys filed a brief Thursday asking U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to throw the case out. They contend the right to marry doesn't include the right to gay marriage. They also argue the ban doesn't nullify gay marriages performed out of state -- it simply doesn't recognize them -- and plaintiff couples who married out-of-state aren't in danger of being prosecuted.

ACLU attorney John Knight didn't immediately return a message.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Friday, March 14, 2014 --- 4:34 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Attorneys representing Republican Gov. Scott Walker's administration have asked a federal judge to either delay a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's gay marriage ban or stay out of the case completely.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a group of gay couples alleging Wisconsin's ban is unconstitutional.

The state Justice Department is defending the ban on behalf of the Walker administration.

DOJ attorneys filed a brief with U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Friday arguing she should stay the case until the state Supreme Court decides whether the state's domestic partner registry violates the ban.

They also argued Crabb should stay out of the matter because any ruling would apply only to three counties named as defendants, not statewide.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Friday, February 28, 2014 --- 5:48 p.m.

Getting married in Wisconsin could soon become a reality for gay couples, at least temporarily.

Yesterday, the ACLU asked the courts to temporarily block the state from enforcing the constitutional ban against it.

Gay couples should have the right to get married, that's the ACLU's stance in the lawsuit. So instead of waiting for the suit to make it's way through the courts, they say they'll likely win, and want a judge to allow gay marriage in the meantime.

Back in 2006, gay marriage was banned in a constitutional amendment, by a statewide referendum. Since then, that's been the uncontested law.

But earlier this month, the ACLU along with 4 gay couples challenged that. The lawsuit argues that 17 states allow same sex couples to marry and that the ban deprives them of the legal protections that married couples receive just because of their sexual orientation.

Also currently, same sex couples who live in Wisconsin and leave the state to get married could face jail time and a $10,000 fine when they return.

If a judge approves the request, experts say gay couples will be able to apply for marriage certificates right away.

"I think they have a pretty good shot given what's happening elsewhere, around the country on this issue, two supreme courts last year and the case out of Utah which is federal as well," says UW Political Science Professor, Donald Downs.

Experts tell us this could become a sticky situation if the judge allows gay couples to marry and then the ACLU loses the lawsuit. Downs says in some cases states have invalidated the marriages that were already performed.

The hearing to determine if the marriage ban will be temporary lifted is at the end of March.
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UPDATED Friday, February 28, 2014 --- 10:03 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Wisconsin's gay marriage ban while the organization's lawsuit challenging the prohibition continues.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Feb. 3 arguing the ban is unconstitutional.

The organization filed a motion Thursday with U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb seeking a preliminary injunction that would essentially invalidate the ban until the lawsuit is decided. In a brief accompanying the motion the ACLU argued they're entitled to a preliminary injunction because they'll likely win the lawsuit and the ban imposes irreparable harm on same-sex couples.

A spokeswoman for the state Justice Department, which is defending the ban, said the agency will respond in court. A hearing has been set for March 27.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, February 3, 2014 --- 5:15 p.m.

A group of same-sex couples has filed a federal lawsuit challenging our state's ban on gay marriage, saying they want the same legal protections that married couples receive.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin and a law firm filed a federal lawsuit Monday on behalf of four same-sex couples who wish to marry in Wisconsin, or are seeking recognition for their legal out-of-state marriages.
Plaintiffs spoke about their personal experiences; many saying they're frustrated and hurt that their relationships aren't recognized under current law in the state.

"My partner and I are law abiding citizens. We're not setting out to disobey laws in Wisconsin; we love each other very much and we want the freedom to marry. And we're not going to break the law in Wisconsin to do that," said Plaintiff Judi Trampf.

The only way for Wisconsin couples to get the federal protections that come with marriage is for them to go out of state to marry. But Wisconsin law says that may be a crime punishable by nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

The lawsuit names Governor Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen as defendants. Spokespeople for both Walker and Van Hollen didn't immediately return messages. A 2006 amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution bars gay marriage or anything substantially similar. Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to marry.

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UPDATED Monday, February 3, 2014 --- 12:36 p.m.
Posted Monday, February 3, 2014 --- 11:55 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A group of same-sex couples has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit for the couples in federal court in Madison on Monday morning. The lawsuit argues that 17 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to marry. It goes on to say Wisconsin's ban deprives same-sex couples of the legal protections afforded married couples for no reason other than their sexual orientation and gay Wisconsin couples who go out-of-state to marry could face prosecution when they return.

The lawsuit names Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen as defendants. Spokespeople for both Walker and Van Hollen didn't immediately return messages.

A 2006 amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution bars gay marriage or anything substantially similar.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


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