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Gay Marriage Lawsuit

Roy Badger, left, and his partner, Garth Wangemann, both of Milwaukee, speak during a press conference announcing the filing of a federal lawsuit challenging the legality of Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage Feb. 3. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of the couple, as well as seven others, who seek the right to marry. 

The plaintiffs in a lawsuit agreed Tuesday not to ask for a temporary halt to enforcement of Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriage but instead are asking the judge to issue a quick decision in the case.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb last week had recommended the move. Crabb cited the flurry of lawsuits around the country in which judges have halted enforcement of bans on same-sex marriage only to have those injunctions immediately overturned.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which sued on behalf of eight gay couples, said it was withdrawing its request for a temporary injunction after district attorneys in Milwaukee and Eau Claire counties agreed not to prosecute two of the plaintiff couples.

An obscure Wisconsin law makes it a crime to go to another state to contract a marriage that is “prohibited or declared void under the laws of the state.” However, district attorneys John Chisholm of Milwaukee County and Gary King of Eau Claire County have both determined the law does not apply to the couples, who were recently married in Minnesota, according to a stipulation filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Madison.

“Accordingly, plaintiffs withdraw their motion for preliminary relief in favor of final resolution on an expedited schedule as the court has recommended,” the ACLU memorandum said.

The plaintiffs suggested that both sides file a series of motions and responses to summary judgment by April 24. The Department of Justice, which is representing the state, declined to comment.

Two of the defendants — Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell and Milwaukee County Clerk Joseph Czarnezki — oppose the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage and are being represented by corporation counsel for those counties.

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