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Colorado Clerks Prepare to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

Photo: The GLBT Community Center of Colorado is among dozens of organizations across the U.S. supporting same-sex couples as they pursue their right to marry. Photo courtesy: GLBT Community Center of Colorado.
Photo: The GLBT Community Center of Colorado is among dozens of organizations across the U.S. supporting same-sex couples as they pursue their right to marry. Photo courtesy: GLBT Community Center of Colorado.
October 7, 2014

DENVER - The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to take no action on appeals court rulings in seven states on same-sex marriage is spurring action among Colorado's county clerks, as they prepare to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Mindy Barton, legal director for the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, says the day is one for the history books.

"The recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court is historic for Colorado," she says. "Colorado is part of the 10th Circuit, and the 10th Circuit ruling will now hold as precedential for all of the states in that circuit."

On Monday, Colorado's Attorney General expedited pending motions to clear the way for clerks in all 64 counties to begin issuing licenses. Barton says there's still a chance the U.S. Supreme Court will have to weigh in on the issue if federal courts disagree, but for now the state's same-sex couples stand to have their marriages recognized by state law.

The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday quickly lifted the stay it had imposed when it struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage. Barton says court decisions have largely remained in favor of same-sex marriage advocates, and she's hopeful.

"We've had consistently very strong decisions that have come out that have deemed such marriage bans unconstitutional, but we're still not quite all the way there yet," says Barton.

Colorado joins five other states - Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming - which are bound by the same appeals court the Supreme Court denied. Because of the U.S. Supreme Court's announcement, 30 states and the District of Columbia are expected to recognize same-sex marriage in the United States.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - CO