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Wisconsin strikes down same-sex marriage ban

MILWAUKEE — A federal judge deemed Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on Friday, prompting more than 120 gay couples to rush to county offices to wed and obtain marriage licenses as word of the ruling spread.

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The ruling came the same day that seven same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging North Dakota’s ban on same-sex marriage. North Dakota was the last state where a ban on same-sex marriage still in effect had not been challenged.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which Wisconsin adopted in 2006, violates gay couples’ fundamental right to marry and their equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.