UPDATE: Area counties start to take marriage license application - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

UPDATE: Area counties start to take marriage license applications

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW/AP) - Several area counties, after initially saying they were holding off issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, have reversed themselves following a court hearing Monday afternoon.

La Crosse, Jackson, Monroe, and Trempealeau counties are now taking marriage license applications. As of 4:30 p.m. La Crosse County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer said one person has applied for a same-sex marriage license. Dankmeyer said they made the decision to start issuing licenses to same-sex couples after Judge Barbara Crabb decided not to grant the stay on the ban.

Dankmeyer said she received close to 50 phone calls Monday, and a few walk-ins, asking about same-sex marriage licenses. She expects 20 to 30 couples to apply within the next few days.

"The couples who have been waiting 20 or 30 years to have this right I'm sure they're more ecstatic then I am saying that we're issuing them, so it's probably a big deal to a lot of people out there right now", said Dankmeyer.

The application process will be the same for same-sex couples. Their is a five-day mandatory waiting period that Dankmeyer said she will not waive, so the person who applied Monday could pick up the license and get married next Monday.

But, if a stay is granted from a higher court within that time, the application will no longer be valid.

Dankmeyer said the County Clerk's office will keep its normal hours Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Counties around the state interpreted Friday's ruling by Judge Barbara Crabb differently. Some went ahead with accepting marriage license applications immediately, while others waited for the legal process to move forward.

Monday afternoon, based on a hearing in federal court in Madison, Judge Crabb refused a request from Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to grant a stay which would have stopped county clerks from issuing licenses. She said in Monday's ruling that since she hadn't ruled on any injunctive relief, she couldn't grant a stay.  The ruling meant that applications could continue for the forseeable future.

Van Hollen has filed an emergency motion with the Court of Appeals in Chicago asking for a stay in Judge Crabb's ruling from Friday. As of mid-afternoon, there's been no word of any action by that court. Crabb stated during the Monday hearing that since she hadn't issued any relief, the Appeals Court didn't have jurisdiction.  

Despite holding off on issuing licenses this morning, there has been interest.  La Crosse County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer tells WXOW they've had a more than 100 calls during the day. With Monday afternoon's ruling, the office is now taking applications. Dankmeyer said that they won't waive the five-day waiting period before a couple can get married. She expects to see anywhere from 20-30 couples in the next few days based on conversations she's had.  The office won't change their hours of operations.

Couples wanting a license in Trempealeau County also must wait five days according to County Clerk Paul Syverson. Jackson County has the same rule on the waiting period.

Monroe County Clerk Shelley Bohl said while they're issuing applications, she's still waiting for guidance from the state on the paperwork involved. The current forms only list a bride and groom.

WXOW's Brittany Lake is covering the story. She'll have updates and reaction to the decision here on WXOW.com and on our evening newscasts.


LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW/AP) - La Crosse County along with other area counties won't be issuing any marriage licenses to same-sex couples just yet.

La Crosse County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer tells WXOW Monday morning that they are waiting to see what happens with the legal challenges.

Dankmeyer said she's received numerous phone calls from people asking about licenses. One person did stop into her office to find out about the process.

La Crosse isn't the only county where clerks are holding off on issuing marriage licenses. Monroe County hasn't had any inquiries on Monday morning about same-sex marriage licenses. County Clerk Shelly Bohl also said they won't be issuing any licenses until after upcoming court hearings.

Jackson County received one phone call about same-sex marriage Monday morning.

In Vernon County, County Clerk Ron Hoff said one person has come in to ask about a license and one person has called. He said issuing licenses is "on hold" for the moment based on what he's learned from the Attorney General's office and the Wisconsin Vital Records Office.

Several clerks also cited recommendations from their county legal department to wait on issuing marriage licenses until there's more clarification on the issue from the courts.

Elsewhere around the state, the Brown County clerk says she's waiting for guidance from state officials after a judge ruled Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Clerk Sandy Juno tells Press-Gazette Media she first needs guidance from state records officials on how to process such questions as naming a bride and groom on the license.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen plans to appeal the ruling and says the state's current ban on same sex marriage remains in place.

Dozens of gay couples got married at courthouses in Milwaukee and Madison Friday and Saturday, taking advantage of what may be a small window before Friday's ruling is possibly overturned.

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt says the city will respect the decisions made at the county level.

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