MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge has scheduled a hearing on the Wisconsin attorney general's request to put gay marriages on hold in the state.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb scheduled the hearing for 1 p.m. Monday. It's in response to an emergency request filed Friday night from Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.
"The U.S Supreme Court will almost certainly decide this important issue once and for all during its next term," said Van Hollen in a written statement released Monday. "There is absolutely no reason to allow Wisconsin's county clerks to decide for themselves, on a county-by-county basis, who may and may not lawfully get married in this state. Nor is there any reason to subject any citizen to the stress and legal uncertainty that will result, as it has in other jurisdictions, if they are permitted to immediately contract marriages pursuant to a district court decision that may soon be reversed on appeal."
Crabb ruled Friday that the state's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, leading clerks in Milwaukee and Madison to start issuing licenses to gay couples.
Clerks in other places, like St. Croix County, have decided not to issue any licenses until a legal decision puts the matter on more solid ground. Pierce County is awaiting word from a corporate attorney before they decide whether or not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Outagamie County had decided not to allow couples to fill out paperwork, but reversed course when 100 people refused to leave the office.
Van Hollen believes that is premature given that Crabb's ruling didn't specifically tell county and state officials whether they could issue licenses.
Van Hollen is also expected to seek an emergency stay of Crabb's order in federal appeals court.
The gay marriage debate in Wisconsin continues to generate opinions from policy makers. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released a statement Monday.
"Love is love, family is family, and discriminating against anyone's love, against anyone's family, is just plain wrong. Wisconsin can proudly say that discrimination doesn't just violate our values – it violates our Constitution," wrote Baldwin. "And now we can proudly say that marriage equality will be the law of the land in Wisconsin."