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Federal judge strikes down Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage

By Reuters Media

MILWAUKEE - A federal judge struck down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage on Friday, saying the law violates the constitutional rights of gay couples who wish to wed, according to court documents.

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

The ruling in Wisconsin is the latest victory for U.S. gay marriage advocates in their fight to legalize gay nuptials as judges recently struck down restrictions in Oregon, Pennsylvania and Idaho.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he will appeal the ruling.

"While today's decision is a setback, we will continue to defend the constitutionality of our traditional marriage laws and the constitutional amendment, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters," he said in a statement.