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Gay Couple: Marriage License Rejection A Civil Rights Lesson For Their Children

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DENVER (CBS4) - The first gay couple denied a marriage license in Denver County on Friday said witnessing the rejection was an important civil rights lesson for their sons who accompanied them.

Randy Burgess and Steve Grauberger arrived at the clerk and recorder’s office in downtown Denver on Friday afternoon hoping their sons could be witness to their wedding.

But less than an hour earlier, the state’s Supreme Court told Denver to stop issuing licenses after it ruled the ban on gay marriage remains. Denver issued 108 marriage licenses before the order.

“(Our kids) still get to figure out this is discrimination that’s going on here,” Randy Burgess said. “So I think it’s fantastic they get to learn that that’s what’s going on.”

Boulder County’s clerk first started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Denver and Pueblo counties followed after a state judge ruled Boulder needn’t stop granting licenses.

Friday’s ruling only impacts Denver and doesn’t target Boulder and Pueblo, which said they would continue. But even licenses issued in counties ignored by the ruling are essentially symbolic until the Colorado or U.S. Supreme Court rules.

“We do believe this is a fundamental right,” William Porter, the spokesman for Denver County’s clerk and recorder’s office said. “We believe that marriage should be given in an equal and non-prejudiced way.”

The state Supreme Court may not rule until 2015. By then, U.S. Supreme Court could take up the issue.

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