"At least in Wisconsin, this issue is done:" Same-sex couples who fought for marriage rejoice

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court Monday, October 6th: It is staying out of the same-sex marriage debate — at least for now — rejecting requests from five states to immediately review their bans that prohibit gay and lesbian couples from civil wedlock. The rejected appeals originated from same-sex couples in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Those who have fought for same-sex marriage in Wisconsin gathered at Art Bar in Milwaukee on Monday afternoon to celebrate.

With Monday’s order, lower appeals court rulings striking down the bans could soon be enforced in those five states. That also means bans in all the other states covered by the three circuit appeals courts would also be invalidated. Those states include West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. Same-sex marriage would then be permitted in 30 states.

"I didn't believe it. I had to check three different emails," Bill Hurtubise said.

Hurtubise and his partner from Racine are one of eight couples who sued for marriage rights. Once they are married, Hurtubise says he believes it will be easier for their three adopted children to legally have two parents.

"Somewhat of disbelief. I'm just shocked this issue is done. At least in Wisconsin, this issue is done," Hurtubise said.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in June declared Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

A 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling by Judge Crabb.

A federal appeals court stayed the ruling -- pending a United States Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court's refusal to review the same-sex marriage ban makes same-sex marriage legal in Wisconsin.

"As a result of the court's action, same-sex couples in Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah will now be able to marry partners that they love," Molly Collins with the ACLU said.

Couples who were part of Wisconsin's lawsuit to allow same-sex marriage were present at a news conference held in Milwaukee on Monday afternoon.

At the Milwaukee County Courthouse, there was no rush for those who want to get married. The Milwaukee County Clerk's Office is issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Now, for the first time in history, there is plenty of time because same-sex marriage is allowed under law.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general is conceding the fight to preserve the state’s gay marriage ban is over. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had filed Wisconsin’s appeal in hopes of preserving a 2006 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. His spokeswoman issued a statement Monday saying the Department of Justice made every attempt to defend the state constitution but acknowledged gay marriage is now legal.

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