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Wisconsin DOJ feels justified in asking federal appeals court to stay gay marriage ruling

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The state Justice Department says it's not out of line by asking a federal appeals court to put gay marriages on hold -- even though a lower court has not made the decision yet.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has been trying to get both courts to put a stay on last Friday's ruling from Federal Judge Barbara Crabb that the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Crabb will hold a hearing Friday on a request by plaintiffs in the case to allow same-sex marriage licenses to be issued, and to let gay marriages in other states be legally recognized in Wisconsin.

The state objects, saying Crabb has no authority to change marriage license forms which require that a husband and wife be listed. Friday's hearing could also determine whether Crabb's ruling will be put on hold while the state appeals it.  

Wednesday, the Justice Department asked the federal appeals court in Chicago to step in, saying Crabb has effectively rejected the stay by not making a ruling on it yet.

As of mid-day Wednesday, the AP said almost 500 same-sex marriage licenses have been issued in over 50 of the state's 72 counties.

Earlier this week, the state said it would not register same-sex marriage licenses, and would put them aside for now -- but officials changed their minds Wednesday.

Should the courts uphold the marriage ban, officials say same-sex couples will have to arrange to make the proper adjustments to their license forms.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)

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