Same-sex marriage now law in Eagle County
EAGLE — Eagle County will join the other 63 Colorado counties and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
On Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court lifted a stay and dismissed a lawsuit challenging Colorado’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage.
Teak Simonton, Eagle County clerk and recorder, said all she was waiting for was that Supreme Court action.
‘TREATING PEOPLE EQUALLY’
“We’re running out to buy some flowers and hoping anyone who has been waiting to get married in Eagle County will come in and get their license,” Simonton said. “This is about treating people equally who love each other and want to formalize their relationship, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision follows Monday’s ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear all appeals on same-sex marriage. That leaves standing a June 25 decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to overturn Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. The 10th Circuit includes Colorado.
On Monday, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said same-sex marriage will be legal in Colorado and all 64 county clerks must issue licenses to gay couples. Clerks in Pueblo and Larimer counties began issuing marriage licenses hours after Monday’s High Court announcement.
Earlier this summer, Suthers had ordered three Colorado county clerks to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, pending the Supreme Court’s decision.
Simonton and Eagle County were not among those three, but only because no same-sex couples asked for a marriage license.
“If we had received any requests, we would have given them one,” Simonton said. “They should be afforded the same rights as everyone else.”
Suthers and some proponents of same-sex marriage agreed on at least one thing Monday: They were disappointed the Supreme Court did not settle the issue once and for all.
“This prolongs the uncertainty on a national basis,” Suthers told The Associated Press.
However, Simonton said same-sex couples who want to get married should do it.
“The worst that can happen is that the ruling is overturned, they’re declared not married and they’re back to where they are now,” Simonton said.
The best that can happen is that they’re married, she said.
Simonton pondered the question of why lawmakers give married people breaks on taxes, insurance and hospital visitation, as opposed to other combinations of individuals.
Boulder Democrat Jared Polis was the first openly gay candidate elected to Congress, and he represents the eastern half of Eagle County in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is Congress’ first openly gay parent. He and his partner have two children.
“Today, the Supreme Court has effectively expanded marriage for all loving couples to as many as 30 states, in all regions of our nation, including Colorado,” Polis said. “The Colorado attorney general has already ordered that LGBT couples in all 64 counties are allowed to get married.”
WORK TO BE DONE
He said there is still work to be done.
“The majority of Americans already support expanding marriage equality nationwide and I remain confident that it is only a matter of time before we achieve this common-sense goal,” Polis said. “I will continue to work to advance the rights of all Americans to marry who they love and offer my congratulations to all couples who will be able to legally marry as a result of the court’s decision.”
Eagle County’s Clerk and Recorder Office has only given four civil union licenses since lawmakers made that an option in Colorado, in March 2013, Simonton said.
Every federal appeals court that has considered the issue has followed the 10th Circuit’s lead and struck down bans on same-sex marriage.
Staff writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 970-748-2935.
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