US: First same-sex couples marry in Wisconsin

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The first same-sex weddings in Wisconsin have been performed, following the striking down of the state’s marriage ban.

US District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban on Friday, and did not stay her own ruling, allowing couples to marry immediately.

The state’s Attorney General, J B Van Hollen, has sought an emergency stay, which would halt the ruling and put the ban back in place, pending appeal.

However, the first same-sex couples were able to marry in the state on Friday night.

In Milwaukee, Pamela Dietzler married Jill Winkler in front of cameras, while Plymouth Church minister Andrew Warner married longtime partner Jay Edmundson, in the hallway outside the clerk’s office.

In Madison, Renee Currie and Shari Roll were first in line to marry in the county courthouse.

Warner said: “I always felt like we were second-class citizens in not being able to get married. And now I feel good about my state in a way I haven’t before.”
Clerks in both Dane County and Milwaukee stayed open late on Friday to allow the couples to marry.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said: “I have been waiting decades for this day to finally arrive and we won’t make loving couples wait longer than they want to get married.”

In her ruling yesterday, Crabb wrote: “This case is not about whether marriages between same-sex couples are consistent or inconsistent with the teachings of a particular religion, whether such marriages are moral or immoral or whether they are something that should be encouraged or discouraged.

“It is not even about whether the plaintiffs in this case are as capable as opposite-sex couples of maintaining a committed and loving relationship or raising a family together.

“Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution.”

Watch the wedding of Dietzler and Winkler below: