The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published an editorial today in favor of the state of Wisconsin dropping its appeal of the recent ruling by federal district court judge Barbara Crabb allowing marriage equality in the Badger State. This excerpt is today's Queer Quote:
Nearly a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the federal government from recognizing or providing federal benefits for same-sex couples married in states where such unions are legal. At the same time, it also declined in a California case to say whether state bans on gay marriage were constitutional or not. While not a clear victory for same-sex marriage advocates, the ruling did mean that California became the 13th state to permit same-sex marriage.
Since those rulings, federal courts have struck down state bans in 11 states. Now, it's Wisconsin's turn: The decision that same-sex couples in Wisconsin — and all who believe in equality — were awaiting finally came Friday afternoon. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
This was not just a victory for gay couples; it was a victory for equal rights for all Americans, and it follows a pattern from the civil rights era, when federal courts played a key role in striking down laws that had imposed second-class citizenship on African-Americans. These bans had done the same to gay couples; it's good to see the bans meeting the same fate.
[Wisconsin Attorney General] Van Hollen argues that Crabb's ruling should be stayed so as not to create confusion for the nearly 300 couples who have been issued marriage licenses in Milwaukee and Dane counties since Friday's ruling. Other counties are holding off on issuing such licenses, awaiting the state's appeal. And, in truth, Crabb could have been clearer in her ruling, which, unlike other courts' rulings, doesn't explicitly say what county clerks should be doing. Crabb is asking for more information before deciding whether to stay her own decision while it is appealed. There is a chance the ruling will be stayed even though Crabb did deny Van Hollen's request on Monday.
But Van Hollen only has a point if he appeals Crabb's ruling. If he doesn't, the argument and the confusion are over. He should refrain from such an appeal and recognize that Crabb's ruling — like other such rulings across the country — is a victory for freedom for all Americans.There is precedent here, of course. Republican Governor Tom Corbett decided not to appeal a similar ruling bringing marriage equality to Pennsylvania. Republican Governor Scott Walker could do the same thing in Wisconsin, but Walker has presidential ambitions, so such a progressive decision is unlikely to occur anytime soon.
Hat/tip to Joe.My.God