Van Hollen tells state to approve existing same-sex marriage licenses

2014-06-11T15:45:00Z Van Hollen tells state to approve existing same-sex marriage licensesJACK CRAVER | The Capital Times | jcraver@madison.com madison.com

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is advising the state Vital Records Office to process the marriage licenses county clerks have issued to same-sex couples in the days since U.S. District Barbara Crabb deemed the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

The Republican attorney general is still asking the judge to put a stay on her ruling, but will not contest the licenses already handed out, a decision that was likely political as well as legal.

Now that clerks in 50 of the state’s 72 counties have issued marriage licenses to hundreds of gay couples, the prospect of taking licenses away from people previously told their marriages were in the books spells a public relations disaster. Even the clerk of Waukesha County, long considered the aorta of Republican politics in Wisconsin, is letting gay couples get hitched and sounded happy about it when she discussed the process with the Associated Press on Monday.

"We want to make sure they're cautioned to a certain degree that they may have some legal issues ahead of them, but we decided that, well, let's just say that we have a lot of happy people here," clerk Kathy Novack said, referring to the confusion over whether the state’s plan to appeal the initial court ruling could later invalidate their licenses.

Not all conservatives are happy that Novack, a Republican elected by some of the state’s most conservative voters, is taking part in what they view as a liberal redefinition of marriage.

A photo of Novack preceded an article by conservative website Media Trackers, which proclaimed that state clerks were “violating state law” by issuing the licenses.

“How those licenses will be treated in the future remains a legal uncertainty, but what is certain is that Wisconsin state law makes it a crime to issue a marriage license contrary to the conditions and definitions established in statute,” said the article, which was published before Van Hollen indicated he wouldn’t challenge the already-issued licenses.

Mark Belling, a Milwaukee talk radio host influential in the conservative movement also denounced Novack’s actions, reported Media Trackers.

Similarly, Kevin Binversie, an editor of RightWisconsin, called the rush by counties to grant licenses illegal, saying that clerks were ignoring laws that require licenses to be granted at least five days before a wedding is performed.

Nevertheless, Van Hollen has apparently decided this is not a good fight for his office or his party to fight.

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(8) Comments

  1. Thanks4Act10
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    Thanks4Act10 - June 12, 2014 10:12 am
    1.26 million WI voters voted against gay marriage in 2006. Less than 400 same-sex licenses have been issued. Wow, libs are bullies. They can beat the will of the people. Shame.
  2. 196ski
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    196ski - June 12, 2014 7:41 am
    Just how misinformed are you?
    Do you think for yourself? Let me guess, Madison resident right?

    The Koch's support same sex marriage as well as abortion rights.
  3. amigay
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    amigay - June 12, 2014 6:52 am
    Can you say KOCH?
  4. Fflambeau
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    Fflambeau - June 11, 2014 9:08 pm
    By all accounts, including people with the Vital Records office and several clerks of counties, the AG previously told them not to process the records. This was widely reported in various press accounts. So this is an about face. Meanwhile, the AG is misrepresenting his actions to the federal judge in the case. All lawyers who appear in any case are also considered "officers of the court" and to mislead the court as the AG has done is a disciplinary offense.
  5. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - June 11, 2014 5:29 pm
    In today's Voice of the People, letter writer Mike Rice opines:

    Demigods, tyrants and dictators come in a variety of packages, including the judicial variety, and recent court decisions show our courts are filled with zealous ideologues, bent on removing our God-given rights, and replacing them with politically approved state-granted rights. We must not allow this to continue. We must resist!

    Mike, please pay attention to the preamble of the US Constitution:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Did you notice the 1st 3 words? "We the people"! We have a government of, by, and for the people. There's nothing in there about any rights coming from God. In fact, there's nothing about God at all (nor Jesus, the Bible, or Christianity) anywhere in the Constitution.

    I'm not sure what you think you're resisting, but it appears to me to be our very American way of life under the rule of law, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty. You might want to rethink your opposition to these things, since they're undoubtedly of benefit to you as well as gay people.
  6. CW Griswold
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    CW Griswold - June 11, 2014 5:29 pm
    J.B. VanGloryhole was simply got word from his handlers at ALEC to 'give em some line'. And we'll get some idea to really shaft em like a special tax or some bizarre estate law.
  7. JUST US
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    JUST US - June 11, 2014 4:53 pm
    At least he's man enough to give the order while the governor remains silent. Who's the leader of this state?
  8. PapaLorax
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    PapaLorax - June 11, 2014 3:55 pm
    well done JB!
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