The federal judge who struck down Wisconsin's gay marriage ban ordered a temporary halt to marriages on Friday, just one week after giving same-sex couples the right to wed.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled the state’s gay marriage ban, which was introduced by voters in 2006, was unconstitutional last week, spurring a series of weddings in Madison, Milwaukee and elsewhere.
The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the ban by launching a lawsuit that said it violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs involved.
After Crabb’s ruling, Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen immediately sought an emergency order in federal court to stop the gay weddings, citing confusion and uncertainty in the judge’s decision.
All but 12 of Wisconsin's 72 county clerks began issuing licenses to same-sex couples after Crabb's ruling last week, even though Van Hollen had argued that was premature.
Crabb created confusion, both sides admitted, by asking the couples who sued to describe exactly what they wanted her to block in the law. She said she would later decide whether to put her decision on hold while it is appealed.
Across the U.S., gay rights activists have won 15 consecutive lower court cases since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer. Many of those rulings are being appealed.