UPDATE: State Processing Marriage Licenses; A.G. Asks Court for - WBAY

UPDATE: State Processing Marriage Licenses; A.G. Asks Court for Quick Ruling

The Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services confirms to Action 2 News at the advice of the Attorney General’s office, it will start processing marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

A statement released Wednesday said, “The Wisconsin Department of Health Services Office of Vital Records is fulfilling all administrative duties required utilizing existing Vital Records processes."

Meanwhile, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has given the state and the American Civil Liberties Union until 5 p.m. Wednesday to file briefs addressing whether the court has jurisdiction over the appeal. The court is responding to a motion by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen seeking an immediate and temporary halt to same-sex marriages happening across Wisconsin.

On Monday U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb didn't grant the state's request; instead she scheduled another hearing for June 19. 

On Wednesday, Van Hollen filed paperwork asking the U.S. District Court to expedite its ruling and enter final judgment without further hearing.  The papers ask the court to immediately grant a stay "to preserve status quo" for when an appeal is filed.

In an even more confusing move Tuesday, the 7th Circuit three-judge panel issued an order questioning whether the court had jurisdiction, ordering Van Hollen to respond by June 23 on whether the appellate court can even take up the case in its current state.

But quickly the panel vacated that order, saying it had been issued erroneously, but gave no specific reason.

Also Tuesday, county clerks voiced more frustration over a lack of guidance from state officials.

"I think we're all feeling there's a sense of disappointment," Sandy Juno said, Brown County's clerk, whose office started issuing licenses Monday. "It's kind of hard to look in the paper and see where the attorney general's office is saying you shouldn't be doing this, but on the other hand, they have not given us any guidance on whether we should or shouldn't, so that kind of leaves us in an awkward position."

An Associated Press poll showed Tuesday afternoon 49 of Wisconsin's 72 counties issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"I think it's very confusing," Charley Jacobs said, a political science professor at St. Norbert College in De Pere. "I think the touchstone for that is just to see how unable the attorney general's office has been to offer clear, cogent advice about what the clerks are supposed to do and what obligations they think they have."

Action 2 News will continue to update this breaking news story.

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