Report: Van Hollen says clerks could be prosecuted for issuing marriage licenses

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Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says that county clerks issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples could be prosecuted.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported online on June 12 on a 30-minute interview with Van Hollen, who has asked a federal court of appeals to overturn a federal district court finding that Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb came late on June 6, and has sent hundreds of gay and lesbian couples to courthouses to apply for marriage licenses.

In the first two days, only county clerks in Dane and Milwaukee counties were issuing licenses. Now, most counties are issuing licenses to same-sex couples and the records are being filed with the state vital records office.

Still, Van Hollen, with the support of the governor's office, is trying to halt the issuance of any more licenses to gay couples and is appealing Crabb's finding.

Van Hollen told the MJS that people in Wisconsin have basically taken the law into “their own hands and there can be legal repercussions for that."

He said any prosecution of county clerks would be up to district attorneys.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, according to the newspaper, said that Van Hollen needs to "call off the dogs and turn off the fire hoses."