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Portage County DA: I'd be shocked if clerks prosecuted for issuing gay marriage licenses

STEVENS POINT, WI (WTAQ) - A prosecutor says he'd be shocked if any Wisconsin county clerk faces criminal charges for issuing same-sex marriage licenses over the past week.

Portage County DA Louis Molepske Jr. said the state would have to prove that a clerk intended to break the law. He doesn't believe that even a minor misdemeanor would stick, after Federal Judge Barbara Crabb refused to tell counties how to respond to her initial ruling 10 days ago that the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Crabb put the ruling on hold this past Friday, so same-sex marriages are again illegal -- at least until the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the subject. That's expected to happen in the coming year.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen contended that the state's gay marriage ban remained in place even after Crabb's initial ruling.

Last Thursday, he said local prosecutors could charge the 60 county clerks that gave out over 550 same-sex marriage licenses statewide. But Van Hollen backed off from his remark, a day after it created a firestorm.

Molepske is from one of the 12 counties that did not issue same-sex marriage licenses. But even if it did, he said he wouldn't prosecute his county clerk for it.

He said it would not have merit, and DA's have more serious cases to handle.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)