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Rock County clerk to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses today

JANESVILLE, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Rock County will be among the next to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples, after Federal Judge Barbara Crabb ruled late Friday that the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Almost 300 same-sex couples in Dane and Milwaukee counties received marriage licenses Friday night and Saturday, as their courthouses stayed open for extended hours. The Rock County clerk's office said it would start issuing licenses when it opens at eight this morning. They'll be sold only to Rock County residents -- including those in Janesville and Beloit -- and out-of-staters who plan to marry in the county.

Clerks in Marathon, Portage and Wood counties are not issuing same sex marriage licenses. They are waiting for a further court ruling.

Meanwhile officials in Brown County say they'll wait for guidance from the state before proceeding. State Attorney General J-B Van Hollen has questioned the legality of issuing same-sex marriage licenses in the wake of Judge Crabb's ruling. He has filed an emergency request to have Crabb set her decision aside while the state appeals.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said the marriages performed over the weekend might be put in limbo by a court stay. In Milwaukee, same-sex couples were gathering anyway for the city's Pridefest over the weekend -- and many took advantage of the opportunity to tie the knot. Wisconsin's ruling was the 15th straight pro-gay-marriage ruling in lower courts since the U-S Supreme Court threw out key parts of the Defense-of-Marriage Act last summer.

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