Sara Gilbertson set up a card table outside the Madison City-County building on Saturday and hung a makeshift sign that read "emergency marriage financial assistance."
Gilbertson, treasurer of the local Autonomous Solidarity Organization, said she was concerned that same-sex couples rushing to city hall to marry might have trouble coming up with the $145 for a same-day marriage license.
"It seems like a lot of money to just suddenly have on hand," Gilbertson said.U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb issued a decision late Friday afternoon striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Because Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen applied for an immediate stay of the ruling, it was unclear how long the Dane County clerk would be able to continue issuing marriage licenses.
Gilbertson was working with a pot of money drawn from her own group's account and was also accepting donations.
Madison resident Sue Breckenridge said she donated to the emergency fund because it was a good cause and she believes in sharing the wealth.
"People shouldn't have to go broke to get married, and this happened so suddenly," she said.
Gilbertson shared Breckenridge's sense of urgency, saying many were uncertain what might happen over the next few days in the legal wrangling over Crabb's ruling.
"We wanted to be able to do what we can now," Gilbertson said.