Wisconsin marriage appeal combined with Indiana's, put on fast track

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Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is trying to overturn a federal judge's ruling finding the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

On July 11, a federal appeals court combined Indiana and Wisconsin's same-sex marriage cases and put them on the fast track.

The move by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago comes a day after Wisconsin's attorney general filed a notice of appeal of a federal judge's ruling last month striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriages. Two weeks ago, the 7th Circuit put on hold a federal judge's ruling in Indiana striking down that state's marriage ban.

The lawsuit in Wisconsin was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of eight same-sex couples. The 7th Circuit previously ordered an expedited schedule in Indiana's case.

The court ordered briefs to be filed by Aug. 4. Arguments will be scheduled by a separate court order.

There has been only one appeals court decision on marriage equality so far. A three judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a lower court ruling finding marriage bans in Utah and other western states was unconstitutional.

The Utah attorney general announced last week that he will skip filing a case before the full appeals court and go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court with his challenge.