[Ed Note: Be sure to check out the great photos added at the bottom of this post! - BF]
To head into the weekend with some good news, a federal judge has now overturned Wisconsin's ban on marriage equality. So freedom comes to the Badger State, despite its Governor, Scott Walker's continuing effort against such freedom, and against Constitutionally conservative values. It's hardly the first time Walker has been on the wrong side of the Constitution, the wrong side of conservatism, and the wrong side of history.
"Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution," U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote in her 88-page ruling [PDF] striking down a state constitutional amendment passed in 2006, finding it in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
There's a bit of a legal skirmish ongoing tonight in the state, as Crabb did not stay her ruling pending the inevitable appeal, though suggested she might do so later after hearing responses from both sides of the lawsuit which was filed by the ACLU on behalf of eight gay couples.
State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has vowed to appeal, just as he did recently after losing the federal challenge to state Republicans' polling place Photo ID voting restriction. That statute, enacted by self-described "conservatives", was found by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman to have placed draconian and discriminatory restrictions on yet another American freedom (the right to vote) in violation of both the Wisconsin state and federal Constitutions.
"Current law remains in force," Van Hollen says tonight about the ban on marriage equality, though few seem to be listening or agreeing. According to the Journal Sentinel, County Clerks in Dane and Milwaukee Counties have announced they will begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples immediately...