Video by Karsen Buschjost
Tuesday morning, the Colorado Supreme Court officially required all county clerks in Colorado to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“There are no remaining legal requirements that prevent same-sex couples from legally marrying in Colorado,” said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers in a press release. “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.”
Larimer County began issuing same-sex marriage licenses at 3 p.m. Monday, according to the Larimer County Clerk’s Office.
“I was informed by my attorney at 2 p.m. and we were up and running by 3 p.m.,” said Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers. Three same-sex marriage licenses were issued from 3 p.m. until close at 5 p.m. Monday.
This decision came after the U.S. Supreme Court unexpectedly turned away appeals from five states seeking to ban gay and lesbian unions on Monday, making same-sex marriage legal in 11 new states. This court’s decision makes same-sex marriage now legal in 30 states.
According to Myers, the office had been preparing for several months to be ready “if and when” same-sex marriages became legal.
“I’m very happy to say we were ready for it,” Myers said.
After the Supreme Court decision, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers released a statement that the decision cleared the way for same-sex marriage to legally wed in Colorado once stays had been lifted. Suthers said he expected the 10th Circuit Court to lift the stays “very shortly.”
The 10th Circuit has jurisdiction over Colorado, along with Utah and Oklahoma — two of the states which had the marriage ban struck down.
“Once the formalities are resolved, clerks across the state must begin issuing marriage licenses to all same-sex couples,” Suthers said. “We will file motions to expedite the lifting of the stays in the federal and state courts and will advise the clerks when to issue licenses.”
This July, clerks in Boulder, Denver and Pueblo Counties were releasing hundreds of same-sex marriage licenses after the initial 10th Circuit decision, before being sued by the the Colorado Attorney General to stop the practice.
Myers said Larimer County did not issue any same-sex marriage licenses at that time because the law was not clear.
“I think it’s about time,” Guerriero said. “I think it’s fantastic. Marriage equality is about protection, protection of families who are diverse.”
Guerriero said this decision is about more than marriage equality — it’s also about families.
“This is an opportunity for these people to protect their families and their children,” Guerriero said. “That’s what I’m celebrating.”