Gay couples began marrying in Wisconsin on Friday shortly after a federal judge overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. As the marriages took place, the state's attorney general moved swiftly to stop them.
State Atty. Gen. J.B. Van Hollen said he was seeking an emergency court order to stop the marriages.
"While today's decision is a setback, we'll continue to defend the constitutionality of our traditional marriage laws and the constitutional amendment, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters," he said on Twitter. "I will appeal."
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison made the ruling Friday.
"This case is not about whether marriages between same-sex couples are consistent or inconsistent with the teachings of a particular religion," Crabb said in her ruling. It's not about "whether such marriages are moral or immoral or whether they are something that should be encouraged or discouraged."
"Quite simply," the judge said, "this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution."
Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban was passed in 2006 through a state constitutional amendment. The
Crabb said that although the parties in the lawsuit were in opposition on gay marriage, they both agreed on the importance of marriage itself.
"It is a defining rite of passage and one of the most important events in the lives of millions of people, if not the most important for some," she said.