Same-sex couples, county clerks still uncertain after ruling


GREEN BAY – Another win for gay marriage supporters in Wisconsin.

“In a weird way it’s like I got married again today, for the second time, to the same person,” said Lisa West, who married her wife, Berri, in June.

A U.S. appeals court today ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

But the legal fight isn’t over yet.

“Our Attorney General predicted some time ago this would be decided in the Supreme Court,” said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

The Chicago federal appeals court has unanimously ruled against gay marriage bans in both Wisconsin, and Indiana.

Three months ago, a federal district judge ruled Wisconsin’s ban was unconstitutional, setting off a wave of marriages before those marriages were put on hold waiting for today’s ruling.

Same-sex couples and county clerks say despite today’s ruling, the future of those marriages is still unclear.

It’s a happy day in the home of Lisa and Berri West.

“I would say it’s a great win,” said Lisa West.

“We kind of knew this was coming but it’s kind of a step forward in the right direction,” said Berri West.

County clerks say despite the ruling, same-sex couples shouldn’t come rushing down to their offices to get a license just yet.

“I’ve already gotten one call, someone interested. The best I can do is tell them we don’t know anything right now, just call us back and it’s going to be kind of a wait and see,” said Sandy Juno, the Brown County Clerk.

Same-sex marriage was legal in Wisconsin for one week in June after the ban was first overturned. The Wests were the first same-sex couple in Brown County to wed. They say they have waited to know if their marriage has the full legal benefits like heterosexual couples.

“A lot of where do we stand? What happens if something happens today? If I didn’t make it home from work today, what would happen to my home? It’s those points that, come on, we need to move forward on this,” said Lisa West.

Governor Scott Walker said his administration will continue the legal fight, saying the people of Wisconsin voted for the ban.

“I’m obligated to uphold the will of the people from the vote in 2006,” said Walker.

A spokesperson for Wisconsin’s Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said no new same-sex marriage licenses should be issued. A statement from that office said: “The Attorney General has always believed that this case will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court. The stay remains in effect until all appeals have been concluded.”

The Wests say they wouldn’t mind a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

“I would encourage if he’s going to do it, let’s just do it. Quit wasting our time, our money, and quit putting my family’s future in jeopardy,” said Lisa West.

The Wests just hope a final decision will come soon.

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