Dearly beloved, we now can gather here today to join this man and this man, as well as this woman and this woman, in legal and loving matrimony.
Gay marriage has finally come to Wisconsin.
Dane and Milwaukee counties immediately started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Friday following a strong and welcome ruling by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb. The federal judge struck down Wisconsin’s stale and unjust “one man, one woman” restriction, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees liberty and equality.
Plenty of legal wrangling is still to come. But the final outcome is clear: Wisconsin is going to treat its gay citizens and their families fairly. Let all of the nation and world know that.
Our state motto is “Forward!”, and that’s the direction Wisconsin now heads in allowing every citizen here, regardless of sexual orientation, to pursue happiness.
As of Friday, Wisconsin was one of 20 states, plus Washington, D.C., issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Joy filled the City-County Building on Friday in Madison as dozens of same-sex couples filed paper work and exchanged vows to become legal spouses. The ceremonies continued Saturday.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen quickly filed a motion seeking to stop marriage licenses for gay couples while he appeals. But no person or action this far down the path to marriage equality can stall progress for long.
Gay marriage isn’t going away. It’s winning in courts across the nation — including in the court of public opinion. It’s winning in referendums and legislative votes. In Wisconsin, a strong and growing majority say they favor same-sex marriage in polls.
The will of the people is with this noble cause.
Van Hollen, who is leaving office soon, lamented “confusion and uncertainty” for families receiving licenses because the court case will continue. But the real confusion for committed and loving gay couples, many of whom have children, has been their inability to ensure the same rights to custody and security that most Wisconsin families take for granted.
It feels good “to finally be accepted for just being us,” said Shari Roll of Madison, who with Renee Currie became the first same-sex couple to marry in Dane County.
You are accepted, Shari and Renee. Officially. Legally. Popularly.
So are all those who exchanged vows Friday and Saturday. Congratulations!