JANESVILLE -- Jennifer Wagner and Amanda Suckow forgot their wedding rings at home, but it didn't dampen the spirit of the brief ceremony Monday for Rock County's first marriage between two women.
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Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler began issuing same-sex marriage licenses this morning following a ruling Friday by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that Wisconsin's prohibition on same-sex vows in the state violated the rights of gay and lesbian couples to equal protection under the federal constitution and fair treatment under the law.
Rock County is the third county in Wisconsin to begin issuing licenses, following Dane and Milwaukee counties.
"I'm more worried about not giving a license than I am about denying one," Stottler said.
Wagner and Suckow received their wedding vows outside the courthouse by The Rev. Matthew Mills of the Universal Life Church. It was his first wedding, he told Stottler, who walked him through the legal requirements of the marriage.
Ed Timmer and Barbara Fett of the Unitarian Church in Janesville were on hand to present couples with roses. They served as witnesses for the ceremony. The Rev. Jim Jaeger of the Unitarian Church in Madison also was on hand to serve as an officiant if needed.
Stottler said of the clerks she talked to, most were waiting to see if any same-sex couples would show up to apply for a license this morning. "It tends to split along party lines," she said.
Wagner and Suckow, who met at work, will hold a ceremony for family and friends later at Traxler Park, the couple said.
Walworth County Clerk Kim Bushey decided to not issue same-sex marriage licenses until she received notification from the county lawyer on what is the "correct legal action," additional information from the state and a decision from a federal court hearing today.
Two people, one via email and the other via phone, spoke with Bushey about marriage licenses Monday. Another couple stopped by in-person, Bushey told the Gazette.
"It puts all of the county clerks in a very difficult situation," Bushey said. "I think its sort of a moving target right now, and we need some additional information."