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Things to know about same-sex marriage legalities

June 11, 2014

Hundreds of gay couples have married in Wisconsin since Friday, when a federal judge declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

The ceremonies have largely been concentrated in Milwaukee and Madison, where county clerks kept their offices open Friday night and Saturday to issue licenses. Clerks in other counties, including Waukesha, began issuing licenses Monday.

There has been some confusion after U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb's ruling because she did not order counties to issue marriage licenses. Instead, she asked the American Civil Liberties Union to submit a proposed order and said she would let both sides weigh in on that. The ACLU said late Monday that it submitted its proposal, which would require state officials to let gay couples marry and to recognize gay marriages performed in other states.

Here are a few more things to know while the matter is being sorted out:

·The ACLU filed a lawsuit in January on behalf of eight same-sex couples. Attorney Larry Dupuis said Monday that none had wed yet.

·Same-sex couples can get licenses in more than half the state. County clerks in 42 of the state's 72 counties told The Associated Press on Monday that they were issuing licenses. Some who were initially reluctant to act without an order from the court or Wisconsin Vital Records Office started accepting applications later in the day after seeing their peers do so and learning that Crabb had refused Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's request for an emergency order stopping the marriages.

·Hitting the road won't help get a license. Wisconsin requires residents to apply for marriage licenses in the county where they live. That means gay couples can't just go to Milwaukee, Madison or another city where licenses are being issued to get one.

·Birth certificates are needed. A number of same-sex couples have been slowed in their quests for marriage licenses because they didn't have all the needed documents. Wisconsin requires applicants to be at least 18 years old and prove it with a certified copy of their birth certificate. Applicants also have to show proof of residency, such as with a driver's license, and provide a death or divorce certificate if they have been married previously. It's a good idea to bring a Social Security card, too, because the clerks need that number.

— The Associated Press

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