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June 13, 2014

Gov. Walker Declines To State A Position On Same-Sex Marriage

Gov. Walker, who had been an outspoken supporter of a U.S. constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2006 and campaigned for governor while opposing legal protections for gay couples, is no longer willing to state a position on the issue.

"It really doesn't matter what I think now," Walker said at one point. "It's in the constitution."

And it's out of his hands, he suggested.


Is the governor — like some other conservatives — rethinking his position on same-sex marriage?

"No," Walker said. "I'm just not stating one at all."

That's a switch. When Walker says "It's in the constitution," he is no doubt referring to last week's district court decision striking down the Wisconsin marriage ban on due process and equal protection grounds. This is a notable retreat because it goes even further than other potential 2016 GOP candidates, who have been falling back to a federalism approach to traditional marriage. Walker just doesn't even want to talk about it.

The aftermath of the Wisconsin decision, by the way, has been something of a shitshow as county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples despite the fact that the district court judge had not yet issued an injunction stopping enforcement of the marriage ban. Wisconsin AG J.B. Van Hollen asked the district court to order the clerks to stop, but Judge Crabb declined, saying she hasn't yet ruled on the injunction or a stay and that whatever the clerks are up to "They did not act because I told them they could . . . That hasn’t been decided."

As it stands, Walker isn't talking. Van Hollen is threatening criminal prosecutions for clerks. Judge Crabb is inexplicably delaying action on either an injunction or a stay. Clerks and couples are moving full-steam ahead and damn the legal process. The confusion over this is inexplicable and idiotic and, I believe, squarely Judge Crabb's responsibility. You didn't see this in any of the other recent district court decisions overturning marriage bans in Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. In those cases, there were either injunctions or stays in place that resolve the question of whether clerks could lawfully issue licenses. Here, for reasons passing understanding, Crabb has neglected to act. Crabb, who has been on the bench since 1971, should have known better and apparently is in no rush to resolve the confusion.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:31 AM

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