NORTH HUDSON, Wis. - Considering it took 30 years to come to fruition, the wedding ceremony held Thursday that legally linked Deb Monicken and Sue Kattas was amazingly brief.
The couple exchanged vows before St. Croix County Court Commissioner Thomas Dahle in their North Hudson home, becoming the first same-sex couple in county history to tie the knot.
"When all of this was going on in Wisconsin, I thought, one day I am going to get a call to do a same-sex marriage," said Dahle, a friend and neighbor of the couple. "I didn't know it would be someone I knew, so it's special."
Monicken and Kattas were first in line Wednesday when county clerk Cindy Campbell announced St. Croix County was able to process their paperwork and receive a marriage license. They wasted no time making their union official, getting married in front of nearly 20 family members and friends.
The couple is in their retirement years and said with increasing health issues, it was important to take advantage of the narrow window of same-sex marriage for legal protection.
"It feels like you have gotten through the rapids, and now we are in slow moving water, and you can cherish this special day for the both of us," said Kattas.
St. Croix County isn't the only place in Wisconsin where same-sex unions are happening. Sixty of Wisconsin's 72 counties are now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
An Associated Press survey of the counties Thursday found that all but 12 were issuing the licenses after a federal judge last week struck down the state's ban as unconstitutional. However, the judge created by confusion by not telling state officials how to implement her decision.
The AP tally shows that at least 573 licenses have been issued statewide while 603 applications had been received.
Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is trying to get last week's ruling put on hold to stop clerks from issuing licenses. Van Hollen said Thursday that those clerks could face charges from local district attorneys for breaking the law by issuing the licenses.
"I wish that hearts and minds changed and it didn't have to be such a political football but I think that is what time takes. I am very pleased and happy," said Monicken.