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The state Supreme Court has declined to hear a direct challenge to Wisconsin's constitutional ban on gay marriage. A federal lawsuit challenging the ban is still pending.

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The state Supreme Court last week declined, without comment, to hear a direct challenge to Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

A Milwaukee County couple, Katherine and Linda Halopka-Ivery, asked the high court to directly hear their lawsuit, which claimed Wisconsin was violating the U.S. Constitution by limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

The couple married in December in California, where same-sex marriage is legal. The lawsuit sought to force Wisconsin to recognize their marriage and to allow them to qualify for all of the benefits that married heterosexual couples have.

But the high court, in a decision filed Thursday, declined to hear the case. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley dissented, also without comment.

Wisconsin’s constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage is being challenged by a lawsuit filed in February in U.S. District Court in Madison by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of four couples. Four other couples have since joined the suit.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said last week that based on recent court decisions, he expects Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage to be struck down in that case. Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia now allow gay couples to marry. Such marriages will become legal in Illinois on Sunday. 

The plaintiffs asked U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to rule on the matter before trial, scheduled for Aug. 25. Van Hollen asked Crabb to stay any decision she makes in the case to allow the state the opportunity to appeal.

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