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Couples not giving up hope despite judge putting same-sex marriages on hold

By Velena Jones, vjones@wisctv.com
Published On: Jun 15 2014 10:28:00 AM CDT

Channel3000.com

MADISON, Wis. -

Judge Barbara Crabb's decision to put a hold on same-sex marriages in Wisconsin is receiving mixed reaction. Despite the issued stay, one same-sex couple isn't giving up hope just yet.

Salud Garcia and Pam Kleiss said they are happy for the progress they have seen in the past month, and expect the courts will rule in their favor.

"We are so happy with this win, even with the attorney general and the governor appealing it. I mean it can't take away our joy," said Garcia, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

Garcia and Kleiss are one of eight couples signed on to a lawsuit challenging the state's same-sex marriage laws.

"We want to get married to the person we love. We want to be treated like how all other Americans are treated. We are not asking for anything special," Garcia said.

Same-sex marriage licenses have been issued by all but 12 Wisconsin counties since June 6, when Crabb issued a decision declaring Wisconsin's 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage unconstitutional.

Friday Crabb issued a stay on that ruling preventing county clerks from issuing marriage licenses while the case is on appeal.

Garcia and Kleiss said they have done all they can.

"To make our family as whole as possible, we have to dig all that up again and say, ‘This is who we are, this is what we did, this is what we can do to the fullest extent of the law to make ourselves real to you. We know who we are to each other,’" Kleiss said.

It's that message of equality Sen. Tammy Baldwin encouraged West High School graduates to pursue at their graduation Saturday.

Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. senator, encouraged students to not be dissuaded against future obstacles they may face.

In her speech she touched on the importance of the state's progress in pursuing marriage equality, but said there is still more work to be done.

"There are two people in the state who could do something about it, who are standing in the way of this progress; and that's the governor, who is defending discrimination, and the attorney general, who's prosecuting progress. They could simply drop their appeal and the stay would not have to remain in effect," Baldwin said.

Baldwin encouraged students to fight for progress in all areas of life despite the difficulties, a message she stands firm on.

"Wisconsinites who believe in the fundamental values of fairness and equality, who believe love is love and family is family, ought to be asking our governor and our attorney general to stop standing in the way of progress," she said.

It’s that kind of progress Kleiss and Garcia are anticipating and hoping will come in future rulings.

"We are on the winning side. We will win this case on the Supreme Court level. Whether it's this case or some other case from some other state, but we are going to win. So, you know, things are on hold. It gives us all a chance to breathe," Garcia said.

The couple plans to have an official wedding ceremony once a ruling has been made and finalized.

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