Couples waiting to wed in Winnebago Co.


APPLETON- Family and friends at the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist church enjoyed a pot luck turned wedding reception Monday night.

Heather and Natalie Starr were the first same-sex couple married in Outagamie County.

“These are the people that showed up to the courthouse and cheered for us and now we’re happy to celebrate with them,” said Heather Starr.

But for Joyce Cowling and her partner Karen, the celebration was bittersweet.

“I’m very happy for them because I know quite a few of them but yeah, it’s disappointing that my county didn’t do that,” said Cowling.

Cowling went first thing Monday morning to the Winnebago County Clerk’s office.

“They asked why we were there and we said we were there to get a marriage license and they said well we aren’t issuing them. We don’t have the proper paperwork,” said Cowling.

Winnebago County Clerk Sue Ertmer says the county had planned to start issuing licenses Wednesday. But, after checking with its attorneys, has decided to wait for more specific direction from the state.

“They’ve been very understanding. Some of them were disappointed that they weren’t proceeding like in Dane and Milwaukee Counties but for the most part when we explain that we just don’t know how to proceed,” said Ertmer. “We’re still waiting to hear from the attorney general’s office.”

Meanwhile Cowling says she and her partner of 21 years will continue to wait for their chance to be legally wed.

“I think the whole state will be able to do this. It might be weeks, it might be months. I would say it would be probably for sure in 2014. This will happen,” Cowling.

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