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Wisconsin clerks could be charged for issuing marriage licences

Attorney-general says gay marriages in state not valid

Wisconsin’s attorney-general, JB Van Hollen, says county clerks who have issued marriage licences to gay couples could face prosecution. Credit: host.madison.com

Wisconsin’s attorney-general, JB Van Hollen, says county clerks who have issued marriage licences to gay couples could face prosecution, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

According to the report, a majority of the state’s counties are issuing the licences in the wake of a federal judge’s June 6 ruling that the state’s 2006 gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. Judge Barbara Crabb did not issue a stay of her ruling, but neither did she specify how her ruling should be applied. Crabb is set to hold a hearing June 13 to clarify how her decision should be acted upon. Meanwhile, Van Hollen has appealed the ruling to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and has asked for a stay. He maintains that the marriages of gay couples are invalid.

“You do have many people in Wisconsin basically taking the law into their own hands and there can be legal repercussions for that,” Van Hollen also told the Sentinel

County clerk Scott McDonell dismissed Van Hollen’s warning of criminal charges, saying he’s not losing any sleep over it, and advised the attorney-general to “call off the dogs and turn off the fire hoses.”