Supreme Court decision

Gay-marriage ruling spurs differing views in Colorado

State began issuing licenses for same-sex couples last year

Staff report
Posted 6/26/15

The U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 ruling to allow same-sex marriage across the nation didn't change policy in Colorado, which has seen gay nuptials since last October. But the news was welcomed by many in the Denver metro area as a sign of …

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Supreme Court decision

Gay-marriage ruling spurs differing views in Colorado

State began issuing licenses for same-sex couples last year

Posted

The U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 ruling to allow same-sex marriage across the nation didn't change policy in Colorado, which has seen gay nuptials since last October. But the news was welcomed by many in the Denver metro area as a sign of progress.

"Today is a historic day for marriage equality and equal rights,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden. “Every person now has the freedom and opportunity to marry the person they love. The Supreme Court's decision is a win for love and respect, and for the equality of all families across the country."

One Colorado, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families, celebrated the ruling, calling it a "momentous win for freedom." The group also urged officials in the 13 states with bans on gay marriage to react swiftly to the court's decision.

"Same-sex couples and their families have waited long enough," One Colorado Executive Director Dave Montez said in a news release.

County clerks in Colorado have been issuing same-sex marriage licenses since October 2014, upon the orders of the state's attorney general after the nation's top court declined to hear appeals on the matter.

On June 26, county clerks in the metro area, including in Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson counties, said it was business as usual. A spokeswoman for Arapahoe County said the clerk has issued 212 marriage licenses to same-sex couples since Oct. 7.

The Supreme Court's ruling came by the closest of margins, 5-4, and the justices were divided along what many consider conservative-liberal lines.

A spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party deferred to the Republican National Committee's statement when asked for comment. The RNC said marriage issues should be left to state officials.

“The Supreme Court failed to recognize the states' constitutional role in setting marriage policy, instead finding a federal role where there is none,” according to the statement.  “In doing so, they have taken power away from the states and from the people to settle the relevant issues for themselves.

“As a party, we believe in the importance of traditional marriage between a man and a woman and remain committed to finding common ground to champion the family's role in society.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, didn't denounce the decision, but said there are more important issues for the community and nation to tackle.

“It is time we move forward and focus on the big debates of our day — how to keep our country safe and get Americans back to work,” he said.

The president and CEO of Focus on the Family, a Colorado Springs-based Christian ministry, called the court's decision “disappointing.”

“Although this result was predicted by many observers, the action of the court is nonetheless startling in its rejection of a societal understanding of marriage that goes back to the dawn of civilization,” Jim Daly said in a statement posted on the group's website.

Not all religious leaders shared that thought.

“I was very pleased and I hope the United Methodist Church will follow up that decision with its own decision this coming year, in 2016, at the general conference, making same-sex marriage legal in the church,” said Rusty Butler, lead pastor at Arvada United Methodist Church.

Likewise, Democratic state lawmakers enthusiastically supported the court's ruling.

“I am so excited for all my constituents, friends, and fellow citizens who have been waiting for this day of equality,” said state Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton. “This historic decision from our highest court is long overdue.”

State Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, said he was “ecstatic” but “there is still a lot of work to be done.”

“That can be seen in the 5-4 decision, and the fact that some on the other side of this have vowed to keep fighting,” he said. “Tomorrow, we have to get back to work to make sure every single person and every county clerk and judge in every corner of the country upholds the law fairly."

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