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Federal judge promises "clear, understandable" ruling on next gay marriage step

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Federal Judge Barbara Crabb heard arguments Friday afternoon on what to do next, in the wake of her ruling from a week ago that struck down Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage.

Crabb did not make an immediate ruling, but she indicated that it might come down before the day was over -- and she signaled that she would likely put her ruling on hold while it goes through appeals that could take at least a number of months.

If Crabb issues a stay, the state's gay marriage ban that voters approved in 2006 would go back on the books -- and counties would have to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses at that point.

Crabb promised at the end of the hearing that she would make her decision "plain, clear" and "understandable."

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has insisted the ban has remained in effect all along, because Judge Crabb never told counties what her ruling meant. But on a Madison radio station Friday, he downplayed his comments from a day earlier about county clerks facing possible criminal charges for violating the ban.

Around 60 of the state's 72 counties have issued hundreds of same-sex marriage licenses during the past week. Whether those marriages will remain legal is unclear for now.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)