If Van Hollen had his way, 60 Wisconsin county clerks licensing gay marriages would be arrested | WisCommunity

If Van Hollen had his way, 60 Wisconsin county clerks licensing gay marriages would be arrested

Out of touch and out to lunch: Wisconsin Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen, the state's highmost prosecutor, is looking more and more like the state's hindmost, and most hidebound. Reacting to Federal Judge Barbara Crabb's ruling striking down the state's anti-gay marriage law, Van Hollen said Thursday that same-sex couples who have wed in the wake of the ruling are not married under Wisconsin law (go figure!) and that county clerks issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples -- though not the couples themselves -- could be prosecuted. Van Hollen, who is not running for re-election, rhetorically assigned that possible task to county district attorneys, who don't have to go along.

Thing is, most of the state's DAs -- themselves elected officials -- would be foolish to go along with Van Hollen's reasoning, because as of the same day that the AG spoke, 60 of the state's 72 counties were licensing gay marriages. The Wisconsin State Journal compiled data and created an interactive map at the web address below. Click on a county to see what's happening there. But just looking at the map, you'll see that 12 mostly rural counties (Racine County is the prime exception), all depicted on the map in reddish tones, were not as of Thursday processing same-sex marriage licenses while the state's other 60 counties, painted in tan, were proceeding:


All the candidates seeking to succeed Van Hollen -- both Democratic and Republican -- have said they would not try to block same-sex marriages or arrest county clerks for issuing licenses for such marriages.

We could ask Van Hollen to lead or get out of the way, but he's getting himself out of the way, aside from filing an appeal of Judge Crabb's ruling and hoping she'll issue a stay of her decisiion in the meanwhile.

However, Van Hollen's biggest chore now will be to get out of the way of the clue train that's about to run into him and other narrow-minded, constitutionally impaired lawmakers. That includes Gov. Scott Walker, a strong opponent of same-sex marriage in the past who is now acting all soft-spoken and mealy mouthed about the latest legal developments -- because he, too, can see the clue train just now crossing under one very big, highly visible rainbow.


June 13, 2014 - 1:56pm