Same-sex couple plan to protest in Stevens Point - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Same-sex couple plan to protest in Stevens Point


STEVENS POINT (WAOW)- Two sides to one emotional story are being told in Portage County regarding same-sex marriage licenses.

"I've been a public servant for 36 years and I want everyone to be treated equally," said Portage County Clerk Shirley Simonis.

The clerk has decided not to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

"It's been very difficult," said Simonis.

Portage County is one of only a handful of counties in Wisconsin not issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Simonis says that a federal judge was not clear when she ruled last Friday that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The ruling is now causing confusion and uncertainty.

"Shirley Simonis is just dragging her feet on this situation and I don't understand what her reasoning for that is," said Keith Kitsembels, a Stevens Point man who wants to marry his partners.

Kitsembels and Allen Rasmussen have been waiting 14 years to get married and was discouraged when they were turned down for a license on Monday.

"This is our lives we're talking about. This is our life together as a couple, and I don't think it is something that should be taken lightly," said Kitsembels.

The couple plans a sit-in at the courthouse Friday morning to protest the clerk's refusal to issue them a marriage license, a process that is occurring in about Wisconsin counties as of Thursday.

"We want her to understand that we are serious about this and she cannot just say to us, 'No, I'm not going to do this, go home, and we're just going to forget about it,'" said Kitsembels.

The couple plans to peacefully protest, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday.

The county clerk nearly broke into tears Thursday when she talked about the confusion.

"I took my oath of office to administer the laws to the best of my ability and at this point the best of my ability is trying to gather all of the information so I make the best informed decision for the couples that are coming in here," said Simonis.

The federal judge has set a hearing for Friday at 1 p.m. for the next development in the gay marriage change.


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