DENVER (CBS4)– Yet another county in Colorado has begun issuing marriage licenses to gay couples even though the legal fight is far from over.
Pueblo County joined Boulder County and the City and County of Denver in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That despite the fact that Colorado does not recognize gay marriages.
A judge ruled Thursday the clerk in Boulder can continue issuing the licenses. That spurred a second clerk in Denver to open her doors to gay couples and a third in Pueblo to announce gay couples can wed there starting Friday morning.
Despite the flurry of wedded bliss at these courthouses, Colorado’s 2006 voter-approved gay marriage ban remains on the books.
Fran and Anna Simon have been together for more than a decade and were joined in a civil union last year, which is why they share last names. They brought along their 7-year-old son, Jeremy, to the courthouse.
“I’m ecstatic. It’s the culmination of so much work and so much time,” said Anna.
“By so many people over so many years,” said Fran.
They believe there is no equal to having the full protection of marriage.
When asked how they feel knowing their marriage may face a legal challenge in the future, Fran answered, “If that’s what it comes to than that’s what it comes to. That’s fine.”
More than 100 couples have married in Boulder County since its clerk started issuing licenses two weeks ago, after the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found Utah’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.
The ruling became law in Colorado and the five other states in the 10th Circuit. But the panel immediately put the decision on hold while Utah appeals it to the U.S. Supreme Court — meaning Colorado’s ban is still state law.
University of Denver law professor Tom Russell is part of the team that sued over the state’s marriage ban.
“I sense a shift to wanting to delay this as long as possible,” said Russell.
He believes that with gay marriage clearing every legal hurdle it will soon become law.
“We’re seeing social acceptance of the idea that marriage equality and the legal system is right in step with that. Moving at a pace that I’ve never seen this quickly,” said Russell.
Appeals are likely to give some counties a reason to not issue marriage licenses to gay couples until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a ruling on the issue. That could come in early 2015.