Complaint coming against Milwaukee County: Stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee County is one of several counties issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples -- and because of that, it is about to become the target of a complaint. Two men have filed a claim, saying the issuing of marriage licenses violates their civil rights.

The complaint won't be officially filed until Thursday, June 12th.

Robert Braun is quite familiar with the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

He has filed numerous complaints in the past, and on Wednesday, June 11th, Braun spelled out his argument for why Milwaukee County should stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"These people are acting on their own. They don't have to do it. Racine...and I don't know if it's Green Bay and the others have not issued marriage licenses -- so they don't have to do it. They're stepping out of bounds," Braun said.

While the complaint hasn't been filed yet, the Milwaukee County Clerk's Office sent out a statement regarding its decision to marry gay couples.

In part, it reads: "Based on the advice of corporation counsel and my review of my responsibilities under state law, I determined I was able to issue same-sex marriage licenses."

Kelly Dodd is a family law attorney. She says based on her understanding of family code in Wisconsin, it would be extremely difficult to void the marriages of couples who have already received a license.

"I don't know if the state can unring that bell. There are provisions in the law that specifically state that marriage that is contracted in the state and under circumstances where maybe the clerk didn't have jurisdiction to issue the license, that doesn't in-and-of itself render a marriage void," Dodd said.

Dodd says while it may be controversial, the licenses already issued are powerful documents.

"The state has given that to them. And they are relying on that right now, in their representations to third parties, in their dealings with each other, their employers, their insurance companies," Dodd said.

Braun is hoping his complaint will stop those licenses from being issued in Milwaukee County.

Braun's complaint also states the county clerks issuing licences to same-sex couples should not have waived the five-day waiting period.

The County Clerk's Office say it has exercised that authority for both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages, and will continue to do so.