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HUDSON, Wis. – St. Croix County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Wednesday, now among 52 Wisconsin counties doing the same after a federal court judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban.

Deb Monicken and Sue Kattas, together 30 years, were first in line when county clerk Cindy Campbell announced St. Croix County was able to process their paperwork.

The state Vital Records Office started processing the licenses on Wednesday, after it had kept them on hold pending legal advice from the attorney general.

Monicken and Kattas had already been to the courthouse once on Monday, only to leave disappointed. In order to get their license Wednesday, the couple had to secure a wedding date, witnesses and a justice of the peace. They scrambled outside the clerk's window, and with a few phone calls, had their wedding date set for next day, Thursday June 12, at 10 a.m.

The couple noted the law had moved faster than the paperwork, with only lines for the "bride" and "groom".

"Deb's the groom, I'm the bride," laughed Kattas.

All kidding aside, Kattas and Monicken realized the power in the moment, how the principle of their marriage mattered.

"There is always that veil – maybe it isn't so much the legal thing," said Kattas. "It just this veil of government disapproval or world view disapproval and by signing the papers today it's like it's been lifted. I feel unburdened, and I didn't even know I would feel this way. I had no idea."

St. Croix County issued Kattas and Monicken a disclaimer that the county could not be held liable for the marriage and costs should the legality of the marriage not hold up during the brewing political battle.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is asking U.S. District judge Barbara Crabb, who deemed the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, to put a stay on her ruling, but will not contest the licenses already handed out.

Monicken said she too was surprised by the emotion of receiving a marriage license.

"It's funny how emotionally charged it is. I thought we would just get it done, but I think the hardest thing for me having my rights voted on. I felt like I was less than," said Monicken.

A survey of all 72 counties by The Associated Press on Wednesday found that only 20 counties were still denying same-sex couples who wished to get a marriage license after a federal court judge last week struck down the state's gay marriage ban.

The AP survey found that 486 licenses had been issued statewide as of Wednesday afternoon. About 76 percent of those, or 368, were issued in Dane and Milwaukee counties.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is asking U.S. District judge Barbara Crabb, who deemed the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, to put a stay on her ruling, but will not contest the licenses already handed out.

Kattas and Monicken wanted to take advantage of the narrow window to wed, and say after 30 years together, in an era where their relationship was not accepted, they have the faith and stamina to endure what else is ahead.

"We have 30 years, and said the marriage thing doesn't matter, but it does matter," said Kattas.

Crabb set a hearing Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. to hear arguments on what she should order state officials to do next.

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