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Attorney Says Wis. Gay Marriage Licenses are Valid

Wednesday Jun 11, 2014
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Berri West, left, kisses her new spouse Lisa West, right, after they were married Monday, June 9, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis., after the Brown County Clerk’s office began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
Berri West, left, kisses her new spouse Lisa West, right, after they were married Monday, June 9, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis., after the Brown County Clerk’s office began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.  (Source:AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Jim Matthews)

A county clerk and an attorney say gay marriage licenses issued by county clerks are legal even if the state Vital Records Office is not processing them.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said Wednesday that a couple is married as soon as a license is issued and a ceremony is held. He says filing the license with the state is essentially a redundancy, as the record is also available at the county.

Madison attorney Tamara Packard says there is no legal ramification for couples whose licenses are not processed by the state Vital Records Office.

The office has not been processing the licenses waiting guidance from Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. He is defending the state’s gay marriage ban, which a federal court struck down last week as unconstitutional.

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