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Federal judge finds Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional


(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A federal judge overturned Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban Friday, joining more than a dozen federal judges before her in finding marriage recognition to be constitutionally protected.

“Because my review of that law convinces me that plaintiffs are entitled to the same treatment as any heterosexual couple, I conclude that the Wisconsin laws banning marriage between same-sex couples are unconstitutional,” Judge Barbara Crabb of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin  wrote in her ruling.

Since the Supreme Court granted federal recognition of same-sex marriages last summer, no state ban has successfully been defended in federal court, according to same-sex marriage advocates. In most of the federal court rulings, judges have found that the Constitution’s Due Process and Equal Protection clauses grant same-sex couples the right to marry. Half of respondents to a Washington Post-ABC News poll out on Friday agreed on the Equal Protection point.

May Marquette Law School poll found 55 percent of Wisconsin voters favored allowing same-sex marriages while 37 percent were opposed. This is similar to the Washington Post-ABC News poll in which 56 percent supported and 38 percent opposed gay marriage.

North Dakota became the final state to see its ban challenged in court after seven couples filed a lawsuit Friday afternoon. The Wisconsin decision does not take effect immediately. In a May 21 count, pro-marriage advocacy organization Freedom to Marry reported 19 states where same-sex couples can marry.

See where gay marriage stands in all 50 states

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Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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