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Pro marriage equality march in Wisconsin, 2010.
Friday, June 6, 2014, was a pretty spectacular day here in Wisconsin, something that I have not been able to say since Scott Walker became our governor. Judge Barbara Crabb overturned the hateful, despicable amendment, Article XIII, Section 13, to Wisconsin’s Constitution that banned gay marriage. It not only banned it—it prevented any official recognition of same-sex marriage in the state of Wisconsin. The people of Wisconsin enshrined hatred in our Constitution in November of 2006.
Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.
At the time of this writing, 60 of Wisconsin's 72 counties had accepted marriage licenses from same-sex couples, and at least 670 licenses had been applied for around the state of Wisconsin, people who were denied the basic human right to love and marry their life partners.

As far as I can tell, in this week of same-sex marriages being legal in Wisconsin, no straight marriages have ended, no one has married a pet and no one has attempted to marry a table. The fabric of society has not been shredded in Wisconsin. But that hasn't kept opponents of equality from continuing their fight, as we'll see below the fold.

The state's attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, is appealing the decision, in a move that shows the party of fiscal responsibility is pissing away taxpayer money on a fight it cannot win. Public opinion is against them. Some on the right scream that this invalidates states' rights. These would be the same type of people who argued for Jim Crow laws and against interracial marriage in the 1950s and 1960s.

Van Hollen also decided on day seven of gay marriage in Wisconsin that he would threaten county clerks for issuing marriage licenses because he feels that these couples are not married in the eyes of the law.

"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 said. "So, depending on who believes they're married under the law and who doesn't believe they're married under the law may cause them to get themselves in some legal problems that I think are going to take years for them and the courts to work out."

He said he did not believe same-sex couples could be prosecuted but that county clerks risked that happening.

"That's going to be up to district attorneys, not me," he said. "There are penalties within our marriage code, within our statutes, and hopefully they're acting with full awareness of what's contained therein."

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell stated that "[Van Hollen] needs to call off the dogs and turn off the fire hoses."

Of course Van Hollen came out on Friday to downplay his threats against county clerks, "I can't imagine under which circumstances I would have prosecuted as a district attorney." He also sent an email out to district attorneys on Friday stating:

[I] never said county clerks should be charged for issuing same-sex marriage license. [I] said they could be charged.
Not only did we have the state attorney general threatening county clerks, a Milwaukee man decided to file suit asking a Milwaukee County judge to stop the weddings.

Gov. Scott Walker also had to get his two cents in this week; of course not wanting his presidential aspirations damaged, he tried to be noncommittal when he stated "It really doesn't matter what I think now. It's in the constitution." In this he glossed over the fact that he campaigned on his opposition to same-sex marriage and against a state law that allows gay couples to register with counties to get certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights.

These conservative bigots want the right to discriminate based on sex, race, creed, sexual orientation or nationality. They want to enshrine their hatred, masked in religion, into law. They fear change and they fear the unknown. They claim the free market will sort it all out. I think we all know how that all worked out. All one has to do is look at the South in the early part of the 20th century to know that the free market did not sort it out.

I am a divorced heterosexual single father still looking for that special someone in my life. I cannot imagine finding that person and then not being allowed to marry them, to not be legally allowed to share that special bond. Conservatives should feel shame for the needless pain and suffering inflicted on loving couples. There was no reason, no purpose, behind Wisconsin’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage except to hurt those whose lives did not jibe with someone’s religious beliefs.

Judge Crabb gets it. This was in Friday's decision:

"After seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media reports, I find it difficult to impose a stay on the event that is responsible for eliciting that emotion, even if the stay is only temporary. Same-sex couples have waited many years to receive equal treatment under the law, so it is understandable that they do not want to wait any longer. However, a federal district court is required to follow the guidance provided by the Supreme Court."
It is my sincere hope that the attorney general loses his appeal with the Seventh Circuit Court and stops fighting to keep this unjust law on the books. It is bad enough that Van Hollen whined and complained about Judge Crabb not issuing a stay on June 6th when she issued her initial decision until he got her to issue one on June 13th. Gay men and women had a week of legal marriage in Wisconsin. Now, thanks to Van Hollen not recognizing that he is fighting a losing battle, he continues to waste taxpayer dollars in his quixotic ambition to defend a law that public opinion has changed on. It is no longer 2006 when that hateful amendment was added to the Wisconsin Constitution. Times have changed, and Attorney General Van Hollen should recognize that, stop tilting at windmills, and accept that he lost. Those who are against same-sex marriage are on the wrong side of history. Love is love.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality and Badger State Progressive.

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