Denver Now Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

After a state court refused to stop Boulder County from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Denver has followed suit.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

July 10 2014 3:24 PM ET UPDATED: July 11 2014 12:20 PM ET

The first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in Denver. 

At least two same-sex couples have received marriage licenses in Denver today, after a federal judge refused to stop neighboring Boulder county from issuing licenses to same-sex couples, which it began doing on June 25. 

Denver County Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson, the first out lesbian to hold the elected position, whose duties include issuing marriage licenses, announced on Twitter Thursday that her office would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately, according to The Denver Post

"FINALLY!" Johnson tweeted. "We can issue marriage licenses to ALL loving couples here in CO. Our Office will be issuing licenses till 4:30pm today."

At press time, same-sex couples were continuing to stream into the clerk's office of the state's largest and most populous county to receive marriage licenses, while observers described Johnson's response to issuing the licenses as "giddy."

Thursday's action in Denver follows a Boulder district judge's refusal of the state attorney general's request to stop Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which she began doing June 25 after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver found Utah's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Because the 10th Circuit holds jurisdiction over Colorado, Hall has consistently argued that its ruling declaring marriage a fundamental right and striking down restrictive bans, extends to Colorado. The attorney general, on the other hand, has said the licenses are invalid.

State judge Andrew Hartman Thursday rejected the attorney general's request to order Hall to stop issuing marriage licenses, writing that the Republican official did not meet the required burden of proof to demonstrate that Hall's actions caused substantial harm to the state or the couples receiving licenses, reports the Post. While acknowledging that Hall's decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of the state's constitutional ban on such unions is a form of civil disobedience, Hartman rejects the claim that her behavior is harmful to the state. 

"There is no tangible harm to the people of Colorado caused by Clerk Hall's disobedience of state law and orders by the State," Hartman said, according to the Post. "The State makes assertions that Clerk Hall's disobedience irreparably harms the people by causing loss of faith in the rule of law. … 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."

Yesterday, a state court found Colorado's 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in violation of the U.S. Constitution, but the judge placed a hold on that ruling while the state presumably appeals the decision. 

Meet the first same-sex couple to recieve a marriage license in Denver in the video below, via the Associated Press. 

 

 

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