Denver Clerk and Recorder to issue same-sex marriage licenses

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DENVER -- The Clerk and Recorder's Office in Denver County began issuing same-sex marriage licenses Thursday.

Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson, who is gay, first said that her office will start issuing marriage licenses until 4:30 p.m.

Mayor John Hancock said he supports Johnson's decision.

"As a city, we have stood together against injustice and for the rights of all people," Hancock said. "Today, I fully support Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson in her issuing of marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples who simply want the freedom to be united with the ones they love. I stand proudly with her as we take another step toward marriage equality for every single resident of this great city."

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette also issued a statement supporting Johnson's decision, noting that "marriage is challenging yet rewarding, and everyone deserves to have their relationship recognized under the law."

The decision to issue the licenses comes on the same day that a Boulder District judge ruled that the Clerk and Recorder there can continue issuing licenses despite efforts by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to stop it.

Suthers sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent Boulder Clerk and Recorder Hilliary Hall from continuing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Judge Andrew  Hartman denied that request.

Hartman's ruling gave Denver legal cover, said Clerk and Recorder spokesman William Porter.

"Now, thanks to Clerk Hall's bravery, we can issue licenses today," Porter told the Denver Post.

Hall has issued about 120 marriage licenses to same-sex couples since June 25, the day the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is located in Denver, struck down Utah’s ban on gay marriage.

Suthers has said those licenses are invalid because the 10th Circuit put a stay on its ruling anticipating an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Suthers and Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who supports same-sex marriage, both agree that the state won’t fight to defend its gay marriage ban but that clerks should wait to issue licenses until there’s legal clarity on the issue.

That sentiment was repeated by Suthers in a statement he released Thursday afternoon saying, "It is paramount that we have statewide uniformity on this issue and avoid the confusion caused by differing county-by-county interpretations."

"Therefore, we will act swiftly in an attempt to prevent a legal patchwork quilt from forming," Suthers said.

In Boulder, the ruling by Hartman came on the condition that courts find Hall had the proper authority. That will likely make licenses issued by Boulder County in legal limbo until higher courts rule on Colorado's same-sex marriage ban.

During a news conference Hall said she will continue to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“This is my job,” Hall said. “And I’m going to continue moving forward and doing it.”

Wednesday, a judge in Adams County that Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

District Judge C. Scott Crabtree ruled that the arguments for keeping the ban, that marriage is about the “protection of families” and “procreation of children”, are “recently fabricated” arguments for the purpose of denying that discrimination is occurring.

Scott also stayed his decision saying an appeal was likely.

Late Thursday evening, Hickenlooper, who is attending meetings of the National Governors Association in Nashville, told FOX31 Denver that he supports Crabtree's decision and is urging Suthers not to appeal it any further than the Colorado Supreme Court.

"I remain a strong advocate for marriage equality," Hickenlooper said. "The decision on marriage by Judge Crabtree puts Colorado on the right side of history.

"I have urged the attorney general not to appeal Judge Crabtree's ruling. If he feels he needs to continue to defend this discriminatory law, I urge him to seek final resolution at the Colorado Supreme Court."



  • SchueleDude (@AcuraBike)

    Crazy. It’s almost as if denying civil rights to others based upon silly religious beliefs isn’t legal. Or maybe thinking others aren’t equal to you isn’t what an advanced civilization does. Or perhaps it’s just because the silly ancient bible all the christians hold so dear doesn’t preach hatred and denial of rights to others, and is just a silly, backwards fairytale!

      • annpirie

        Yes, Dude, it has. It has been defined as between a man and a woman in all Constitutions written, unless so amended not to any longer be that. As for the bible, it is a series of fables. But, even with that being stated, marriage is between a man and a woman. Wait until these relations go south, and many of them will, those who chose to be married will have a hell of a lot of paper work to do they never had before.

      • Anonymous

        To annpirie above:

        First of all, your comment makes no sense. Second, if you’re trying to suggest that all written constitutions define marriage only between one man and one woman, that is unequivocally false. The movement to add amendments to state constitutions in order to provide language like that has only existed in the past 15 years or so. And even then, not all states even did that. Unfortunately for the ones that did, we are now finding those constitutional bans to be undeniably unconstitutional. That’s the thing about a constitution — it can be changed. Thank god.

    • Anonymous

      Lol well then you better move out of the USA, because gays can already get married here, and it’s definitely considered marriage. I bet you’ll find some sympathy in lots of other countries though! Like Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey…….

      • Codswallop Hogwash

        And it is offensive to the vast majority of Americans to call it ‘marriage’. Again, call it what you want, but do not insult those of us who are heterosexual by infringing upon our relationships.

  • Mike

    These people breaking the law should be cuffed, thrown in jail and fined heavily. The lawlessness needs to stop from here to the White House.

  • colocaver

    Why do god-hating people want to perform a religious ceremony and fight for the right to do so??

    Please. explain it. I support you ruining the rest of your life with whoever you want but I really can’t get this one it’s so hypocritical!

    • Nick

      Religious ceremony? Welcome to the 21st century where people get married by justices of the peace instead of priests because they want the government benefits and they really don’t care what Santa Claus thinks of it.

  • katie

    For all of you ignorant sad people get a clue the world is changing and why the hell do you care what two adult individuals do in the privacy of there own home are you jealous because they are way happier than you in your bible thumping life god says not to judge lest ye be judged and god surly doesnt make mistakes

  • katie

    And congradulations to all the happy couples that got married today have fun and celabrate its a happy time

    • Nick

      I assume you are just another typical hypocrite small government conservative aren’t you? I am a REAL one and I applaud this. THIS is the very definition of smaller government. A city going against a state should be celebrated just like Colorado going against the federal government on MJ should be celebrated. However when it comes to things YOU don’t like, you go crying to the government for help. You sound pathetic. Oh please government, stop this please, we want you to be MORE powerful while simultaneously claiming we want you to be less powerful! Oh help us almighty government! Help us stop other people from doing things that don’t affect us in the least bit!

      • Craig Smith

        Nope, just concerned that the people of colorado voted on it… know, the people that live here. And then a county clerk decided to take it into her own hands. Just not happy with that. Dont want the federal gov to help.

  • Nick

    “As a city, we have stood together against injustice and for the rights of all people,” Hancock said.

    As a city we have. As a mayor you have NOT. What was that about Marijuana again? F off hypocrite.

  • JDWG2557

    Why does this continue to be considered news? Really what should be news is that legal voting no longer means anything in this horrid state. I guess you networks are inept at finding interesting and compelling stories to report.

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