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Wedding Bells Ring for Same-Sex Couples in Colorado
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Wedding Bells Ring for Same-Sex Couples in Colorado

Summary: Colorado has begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of states that sought to enforce same-sex marriage bans.

It’s official: Same-sex marriages are now legal in the state of Colorado, according to KKTV.com. On Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme court removed the remaining legal obstacles that prevented same-sex couples from applying for marriage licenses from county clerk offices.

  
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Colorado Attorney General John Suthers issued a statement saying, “There are no remaining legal requirements that prevent same-sex couples from legally marrying in Colorado. Beginning today, Colorado’s 64-county clerks are legally required to issue licenses to same-sex couples who request them. In addition, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is required to register such marriages in the records of the state of Colorado.”

The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to decline hearing appeals from five states that sought to ban gay marriage paved the way for Colorado to legalize same-sex marriages. The five states seeking to have their bans upheld by the Supreme Court were Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Oklahoma and Utah are part of the 10th Circuit, which also includes Colorado. The 10th Circuit previously ruled that same-sex marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah were unconstitutional. Because the Supreme Court allowed this ruling to stand, Colorado instantly ruled that its ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and therefore invalid.

Many counties began issuing marriage licenses immediately after the Supreme Court announced its decision, but many waited until all stays on issuing marriage licenses were lifted by state and federal courts. On Tuesday, all the stays had been removed, and El Paso County announced that it would immediately begin providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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A tweet from the attorney general’s office changed the lives of many on Monday afternoon: “Once the legal formalities are complete, #samesexmarriage will be legal in Colorado now that #SCOTUS denied ruling,” it read. County clerks across Colorado began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples upon reading the tweet.

Suthers added that clerks “can and should begin issuing and recognizing marriage licenses to gay couples.”



Pueblo County, which had stopped issuing licenses while it waited on a court ruling, immediately resumed issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Gilbert Ortiz, the Pueblo County Clerk, said, “I think it is a historical moment for Colorado. We’ve had that same-sex marriage ban for some time now. And so now, it’s open and equal for everyone. So I think it is a big deal for Colorado.”

Kat Rogers and Stacey Nowlin were the first couple in their county to obtain a marriage license. “There are so many things you can’t do without it,” Nowlin said. The couple has patiently waited years to get married, and were unable to get their marriage license over the summer during the brief period same-sex marriages were legal because Rogers was hospitalized. “The day I got out, we came up and it was too late,” Rogers remembered.

As expected, not all were enthusiastic about Colorado’s decision. Congressman Doug Lamborn stated, “By refusing to take up these appeals, the Supreme Court has allowed unelected activist judges from lower federal courts to usurp the democratic process and undermine the constitutional rights of several states, including Colorado, to define marriage consistent with the values of their citizens.”

Although there is not a national ruling on same-sex marriage, it is now legal in over half of the states.

Photo credit: usatoday.com



 

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