Colorado County Clerk Begins Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses (Updated)

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"Colorado County Clerk Begins Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses (Updated)"

Michelle and Wendy Alfredsen with their son Oliver after marrying in Boulder County, Colorado.

Michelle and Wendy Alfredsen with their son Oliver after marrying in Boulder County, Colorado.

CREDIT: Twitter/@Alex_Burness

Wednesday afternoon, Boulder County, Colorado began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which it plans to resume doing Thursday morning. County Clerk Hillary Hall made the decision to do so in response to the 10th Circuit’s ruling against Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage — Colorado also being in the 10th Circuit. Colorado, like Utah, bans same-sex marriage in its constitution, offering only civil unions to same-sex couples.

In a news release, Hall explained that “couples across Colorado have been waiting a long time to have their right to marry the person they love recognized,” so she wanted to “act immediately to let them carry out that wish.” Lafayette and Longmont counties have indicated they will also begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples on Friday.

But Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (R) clarified Wednesday afternoon that the marriages would be invalid because the 10th Circuit’s decision was stayed, noting, that it “has not gone into effect even in Utah, let alone in Colorado.” Hall countered that her county’s legal team determined that the stay only applied to Utah and the officials involved in that case. She says that she will continue to issue licenses “unless a court in Colorado or the U.S. Supreme Court tells me otherwise.”

Michelle and Wendy Alfredsen were the first to marry, with their son Oliver in tow. Heather Shockey and Tracey MacDermott, one of the nine couple’s challenging Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage, married shortly thereafter.

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Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) provided the following statement to ThinkProgress:

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision is a historic step forward for marriage equality. Everyone should be able to publicly affirm to their friends, families and communities their love and shared commitment. Colorado’s Amendment 43 is wrong, and this decision shows it’s only a matter of time before it, too, is stuck down and all Coloradans can enjoy full marriage equality.

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