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Judge Barbara Crabb Stays Ruling On Wisconsin Marriage Protection Amendment

Friday afternoon U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb granted State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s request for a stay on her order regarding the redefinition of marriage in Wisconsin. Here is some reaction. 

From State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen:

Late today US District Judge Barbara Crabb granted Attorney General JB Van Hollen’s request for a stay on her order regarding the redefinition of marriage in Wisconsin. The judge also clarified her previous order as written in her original ruling issued last Friday.  That ruling unilaterally declared Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment unconstitutional, thus trouncing on the votes of over 1.6 million Wisconsin citizens who approved the amendment in November 2006.  Her injunction today ordered county clerks to issue marriage licenses to couples of the same sex.  Her stay, however, means that the marriage amendment restricting marriage to one man and one woman remains in place for the duration of the judicial proceedings on this matter.


“While I disagree totally with Judge Crabb’s ruling in this case, I am pleased that she at least put a stop to the chaos that ensued from her original vague order in this matter. It is altogether appropriate that this stay be ordered while this case works its way through the appeals process,” stated Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), and one of four other WFA board members who filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief in this case.  “Judge Crabb’s ambiguity and vagueness in her original order has caused undue and absolutely unnecessary turmoil in our state.


“The rule of law has seemed to be merely some pesky summer insect to many in our state who have urged county clerks to issue the licenses, in spite of what Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has directed.  This judge, in concert with those determined to redefine society’s foundational institution of marriage, turned Wisconsin from being a state where the law is respected into a place where apparently everyone, especially elected county clerks, can do that which is right in his own eyes. Fortunately, today we have clarity which should bring an end to the confusion. Clerks who persist in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples will be doing so in clear violation of the judge’s order.”

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has already appealed the decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.  That court has ordered both sides to submit briefs supporting their position of whether the appeals court should take the case. In light of Judge Crabb’s order and stay today, it would seem the way is cleared for that court to now take the case.


“As disturbing as all of the legal gyrations have been in this case, what disturbs us most is Judge Crabb’s decision regarding the amendment and what she said about marriage in her opinion.  She made some breathtaking pronouncements that must be challenged.  As amici, we are today releasing a response to some specific aspects of the Judge’s ruling.” continued Appling. 


From U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin:


“One year ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions in two historic cases that reflected the progress we have all witnessed across our country. The nation’s highest court made a strong statement for equality and freedom, overturning discrimination against gay and lesbian American citizens simply because of who they love. Wisconsin is the twelfth state to see a marriage ban struck down in federal court since the U.S. Supreme Court decision last June. Now Wisconsin can proudly say that discrimination doesn’t just violate our values – it violates our Constitution and marriage equality will be the law of the land in Wisconsin.


“I believe that we owe it to the next generation to give them a Wisconsin that is more equal, not less equal. The Wisconsin I know deserves better than a Governor defending discrimination and an Attorney General prosecuting progress. Wisconsin should be a place where every family’s love and commitment can be recognized and respected under the law. It is time for Governor Walker and Attorney General Van Hollen to stop standing in the way of freedom, fairness and equality for all Wisconsinites. Love is love, family is family, and discriminating against anyone’s love, against anyone’s family, is just plain wrong.”