Confusion in Wisconsin as some counties turn away gay couples seeking marriage licences

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As several county clerks in the US state of Wisconsin begin to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples on Monday, others will turn them away.

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

While she did not stay the ruling, she did not issue specific instructions, meaning some county clerks were unsure of how to proceed.

As some counties, including Rock, Milwaukee and Dane Counties announced ahead of time that they would issue the marriage licences to same-sex couples, others, including Outagamie and Brown Counties, turned gay couples away.

Three gay couples who applied for marriage licences on Monday in Outagamie, were turned away, despite the ruling, and the clerk there said she was waiting for further guidance from the state vital records offices. The couples in Brown were told something similar.

146 gay couples obtained marriage licences in the city of Milwaukee between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, and 137 in Madison.

Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen is on Monday expected to petition a federal court in order to stop same-sex couples from marrying in the state.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight couples, has urged same-sex couples to continue marrying, despite fears that a marriage ban could be put back in place.