Garfield County issues its first same-sex marriage license
GARFIELD COUNTY — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers ordered counties to issue same-sex marriage licenses upon request on Tuesday, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on same-sex marriage cases earlier in the week.
First in line in Garfield County were Kat Sing, 51, and Toni Grenko, 58, both of whom grew up in the valley. The pair have been together for three years and live in No Name.
Sing and Grenko had talked about marriage and had already arranged for medical power of attorney, but they didn’t want to settle for a civil union or a wedding in another state.
“It’s not the same thing,” Grenko said. “It’s not about the legality of it; it’s about the sacred union of two people.”
When an alert came in yesterday morning, they knew it was time.
“We got down on our knees this morning and re-engaged, and it really felt different this time because we actually get to do it,” Sing said.
“I think we’ve waited long enough,” agreed Grenko. “It feels like we’ve been married for 20 years already.”
It will be a short engagement. They have 35 days to hold a ceremony, or else they’ll have to return for a new license. Another couple may beat them to the altar, but Grenko and Sing are already part of Garfield County history.
“In some ways it’s just a formality, but it’s a really beautiful, sacred formality,” Sing said. “We love this valley. It’s our home. It’s nice to do it here and be here.”
The couple have a strong sense of faith and have worked hard to achieve acceptance from Christian relatives, friends and the community at large.
“I understand that there’s people that really have a heterosexual definition of what that word means, and I honor that that’s true for them,” Sing said. “For us, God couldn’t be more part of our relationship.”
“I want to be respectful of other people’s feelings, but I have a problem with the argument that our family is somehow devaluing someone else’s relationship,” agreed Grenko. “I really believe that God’s about love, so how can it be that our relationship is somehow bad in the face of God?”
So far, the couple haven’t run into much public criticism of their relationship, and they’re optimistic that the legal step will help bring the issue out into the open and acclimate the public.
“People have been in the closet so long,” Sing said. “People haven’t even been around gay couples, so it’s a mystery right now. Once they realize that they actually have been around gay people — at the bank, at the supermarket, in their families — and that they’ve always been in their lives, I hope that through time people will be able to honor our marriage even if they’re not there yet.”
In the end, Grenko observed, marriage and love are about so much more than gender.
“We’re much more interesting as a couple because of who we are,” she said. “That’s what makes us special, not the fact that we’re both women.”
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