US: Gay couples persuade Wisconsin county clerk to issue marriage licences

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A group of almost a hundred gay couples has persuaded a county clerk in the US state of Wisconsin to accept applications for marriage licences by refusing to leave her office.

Outagamie county clerk Lori O’Bright had said she wanted to wait for further guidance from the state on whether she could issue marriage licences to same-sex couples.

Despite this, dozens of same-sex couples refused to leave her Appleton office until the licences were issued.

O’Bright was then told by a county attorney to begin accepting applications.

Unlike some counties, O’Bright would not waive the state’s usual five-day waiting period, so couples wishing to marry there will need to wait for the weekend.

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.

However, Republican Attorney General J B Van Hollen asked Judge Crabb to stay her own ruling to stop gay and lesbian couples from marrying in the state.

Responding to the emergency request, Judge Crabb scheduled a 1pm hearing on Monday.

Van Hollen has also now asked the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the ruling.

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.