Same-sex marriages rise to nearly 500 in state
MADISON — Gay marriages were still being allowed in more than two-thirds of Wisconsin counties on Wednesday, even as those defending the state's ban were proceeding with legal action that could result in courts ordering the marriages to stop.
Here's a look at where the legal fight and related issues stand:
HOW MANY GAY COUPLES HAVE MARRIED?
As of midday Wednesday, 486 same-sex marriage licenses had been issued statewide since Friday, based on Associated Press survey of all 72 county clerks. Fifty-two counties were issuing licenses, up from 49 on Tuesday.
About 76 percent of all licenses issued, 368, were in Milwaukee County and Dane County, which is home to the state capital, Madison.
Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said he has advised couples to marry quickly because a court order putting the marriages on hold during the appeal is expected.
Licenses will be issued in Walworth County Thursday morning, said Walworth County Clerk Kim Bushey, according to a story in the Janesville Gazette.
Sides file gay marriage briefs in federal court
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Civil rights advocates are trying to persuade a federal appeals court it has no jurisdiction to end gay marriages in Wisconsin yet.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb found the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional last week in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit. County clerks have started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples even though Crabb has yet to issue an order telling them what to do.
Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen contends that absent such an order the ban remains in effect. He has asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to halt the marriages while he appeals.
The ACLU filed a brief Wednesday arguing the court lacks jurisdiction until Crabb issues an order. State attorneys counter in their own brief that the court clearly has jurisdiction.
52 counties now issuing gay marriage licenses
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Fifty-two Wisconsin counties are now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
A survey of all 72 counties by The Associated Press on Wednesday found that only 20 counties were still denying same-sex couples who wished to get a marriage license after a federal court judge last week struck down the state's gay marriage ban.
The AP survey found that 486 licenses had been issued statewide as of Wednesday afternoon. About 76 percent of those, or 368, were issued in Dane and Milwaukee counties.
The state Vital Records Office started processing the licenses on Wednesday, after it had kept them on hold pending legal advice from the attorney general.
This could be a narrow window for couples to get licenses, as the ruling striking the ban could be put on hold.
State benefits manager mulling gay marriage impact
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds says it is "awaiting further clarification" to determine the effect on health and pension benefits programs it manages in the wake of last week's ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Hundreds of same-sex couples have been getting married in the five days since the ruling from U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb.
The state Department of Employee Trust Funds says in a message on its website posted Tuesday that it will convey any new information about the impact of the ruling to its members as soon as possible.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is trying to stop same-sex marriages while he intends to appeal the judge's ruling.