Remember this spring when that Federal Judge struck down the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriages? Do you recall how some county clerks immediately started to issue marriage licenses to gay couples? And remember how there were all of these marriage ceremonies in courthouse hallways and on street corners because everyone was afraid that another court was going to come down at any second and put the kibosh on same-sex marraige again? And you may recall that some clerks didn't issue those licenses right away saying no one had told them what the process was supposed to be? And then remember all of the counties started issuing the licenses? And remember how Republicans were criticizing the clerks for issuing the licenses because they had not been ordered to do so yet? And then the same judge who lifted the ban put a stay on her own ruling--meaning that there would be no more licenses issued? And remember how nobody knows now if those same-sex marriages are valid or not?
Hopefully you were able to recall all of that--because we could be facing the same thing again this fall with the lifting of an injunction blocking Wisconsin's Voter Identification Law. Except in this case, most of the people who were critical of county clerks for jumping the gun and issuing the same-sex marriage licenses are calling for those same clerks to immediately train their poll workers on recognizing acceptable forms of state and federal ID. That, of course, is to make sure that the ID law is enforced for the all-important gubernatorial election coming up on November 4th.
The only potential problem here is that the same Federal court that lifted the injunction stopping Voter ID last week could easily issue its actual ruling on the appeal brought by the State at any time before November 4th. And it is entirely possible that it could rule against the state--meaning the injunction goes back into place--and all of the training of poll workers and the research done into people who say they can't afford to buy another birth certificate but want an ID will have been a complete waste of time and taxpayer money. And more importantly, people will be confused. And as the rollout of the Affordable Care Act proved, people have little patience or respect for anything government does that they find confusing.
So just like I recommended when the county clerks started issuing the same-sex marriage licenses--when State laws had not been put into place yet to deal with issues related to a practice that had previously been banned, and when another potential court ruling threatened to make the entire practice moot--let's all just wait until this whole legal process plays out before we start putting all of this effort into enforcing such tenuous laws.