Boulder ruling opens doors for same-sex marriage licenses

Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson was beaming as she awaited the first couple to walk through the doors.

“It’s so gratifying,” she said. “I’m so excited. I was just talking with someone on the phone, and I said, ‘I didn’t think it would ever happen in my lifetime.’ “

Johnson began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Thursday, just hours after Boulder District Court Judge Andrew Hartman rejected a request by the state to stop the Boulder clerk from continuing to do so. Hartman’s ruling has potentially thrown open the doors as elected county clerks across the state consider whether they will begin issuing the licenses, despite the risk that they may later be declared invalid.

The ruling was the second defeat in two days in Colorado Attorney General John Suthers’ effort to defend the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

Suthers, who filed the lawsuit against the Boulder clerk’s office, issued a statement that said the issue “cries out for resolution by the state’s highest court.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement that the decision “puts Colorado on the right side of history” and urged the attorney general not to appeal the ruling. He added that if Suthers felt he must appeal, he should go to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall’s office has issued 123 licenses to gay couples since the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Utah ban on same-sex marriages last month. Hartman said the AG’s office failed to prove that Hall’s actions have harmed the couples or the state.

“The State makes assertions that Clerk Hall’s disobedience irreparably harms the people by causing loss of faith in the rule of law,” Hartman said. “However, the State has made nothing but assertions. An alternate public response is that the people of Colorado laud Clerk Hall for her pluck and/or condemn the Attorney General for his tenaciousness.”

Johnson welcomed Samantha Getman, 33, and Victoria Quintana, 23, at Denver’s Wellington E Webb Building. They were the first of 17 couples who obtained a license Thursday.

“Whether they say it’s invalid or not, we’re married,” Getman said.

Johnson also saw a familiar couple.

"Anna Simon (L) and Fran Simon share a kiss as son Jeremy stands in the middle,  at the counter to get their license at the Denver County clerk's office where they began issuing same sex marriage licenses July 10, 2014. They are the first official married couple  as they self solomized at the office. They are the first to go on record with the Denver County clerk's office. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)"

“Anna Simon (L) and Fran Simon share a kiss as son Jeremy stands in the middle, at the counter to get their license at the Denver County clerk’s office where they began issuing same sex marriage licenses July 10, 2014. They are the first official married couple as they self solomized at the office. They are the first to go on record with the Denver County clerk’s office. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)”

Fran and Anna Simon, who have been together for 11 years, arrived with their 7-year-old son, Jeremy. They were the first couple to get their civil union and had a ceremony at the building May 1, 2013.

On Thursday Fran and Anna were first again, as they exchanged vows and signed their certificate, becoming the first same-sex couple to be married and recorded in Denver.

“I’ll love, honor and respect you … be your wife for the rest of my days,” Anna vowed to Fran.

Hall acknowledged that her court battle continues.

 

Source: The Denver Post, “Boulder ruling opens doors for same-sex marriage licenses,” By Jordan Steffen, Jon Murray and Kieran Nicholson, Posted:   07/10/2014 10:55:37 AM MDT | Updated:   about 4 hours ago

 

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