Same-sex married couples still waiting for legal clarifications
By Kelly Schlicht
Lisa and Berri West of Green Bay were married Monday, and gave birth to their son Jasper on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. However, the legal gray areas with same-sex marriage are affecting their parental rights.
GREEN BAY- Since Judge Barbara Crabb issued a stay on her same-sex marriage ruling Friday, local same-sex couples are basically in a holding pattern: waiting and wondering what will happen next.County clerks have also been caught in the middle of the confusion.Lisa and Berri West have had a big week.The first same sex couple in Brown County to marry on Monday. On Wednesday, the first same-sex married couple to give birth to a child in Brown County.."Crazy but exciting. Two of the best life events that you could possibly have happen within a matter of days of each other," said Berri West.Now that Judge Barbara Crabb issued a stay on same-sex marriage licenses, the Wests and County Clerks aren't sure what will happen to the marriage licenses issued this week."There are those people who have been issued licenses but haven't been able to get married yet , you know, will they be allowed to get married and file their records? There are people who already did get married and have filed their records," said Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno.Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a statement saying he was pleased with Judge Crabb issuing the stay.He said: "Wisconsin's law regarding same-sex marriage remains in full force and effect. The state and all of its agencies and subdivisions must follow and enforce Wisconsin's marriage law."The conservative group Wisconsin Family Action issued a statement frustrated with Crabb's decision.It said: "That ruling unilaterally declared Wisconsin's Marriage Protection Amendment unconstitutional, thus trouncing on the votes of over 1.6 million Wisconsin citizens who approved the amendment in November 2006."As for the Wests: They had hoped their marriage would give them both full parental rights of their daughter Silas and their son Jasper."Essentially right now I was told that there wasn't a clear way to handle the birth certificate even though we are legally married. I still have to file as single on the birth certificate and not put Lisa down as the other parent just because there is no clarification yet on how to handle that through the state's eyes," said Berri West.The Wests say they have been in touch with the American Civil Liberties Union and are considering further legal action.County clerks hope to have more instructions from the state on Monday.They want to know the legal status of couples who have been married, or have filed for same-sex marriage licenses.
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