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Federal judge halts same-sex marriages in Wisconsin during appeal
Catholic News Service

MADISON, Wis. — A federal judge halted same-sex marriages in Wisconsin while an appeal of her decision to strike down as unconstitutional the state's ban on such marriages is pending.

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb stopped same-sex marriages in the state a week after her initial ruling June 6. About 500 couples had wed during the period after she allowed county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Her order did not address whether the marriages were valid.

The appeal was filed by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen of Wisconsin. He asked Crabb to stay her decision on the ban, arguing that allowing the marriages while the primary case was pending led to confusion about the legality of the marriages.

The judge explained during a 30-minute hearing on the motion for the stay that clerks were issuing licenses to same-sex couples of their own to volition.

She said the stay was issued because the U.S. Supreme Court had done likewise in a similar case in Utah.

Crabb ruled June 6 that a 2006 amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution that outlawed same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The amendment was approved by 59 percent of voters in balloting.

Although Catholic leaders in Wisconsin expressed disappointment in the original ruling, no comment on the stay was available from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference or Catholic Church officials.

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