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Pueblo Starts Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses, Wait for Go-ahead

By Jordan Steffan | Denver Post

From the moment a Denver-based federal appeals court struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, Colorado has been at the center of the issue as county clerks defied an attorney general and lawsuits played out in the courts.

All of it came to an abrupt and unexpected conclusion on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear all appeals on same-sex marriage.

The decision led Colorado Attorney General John Suthers — who successfully shut down three clerks who began issuing licenses this summer — to say that same-sex marriage will be legal in Colorado and all 64 county clerks must issue licenses to gay couples.

Suthers urged clerks to wait for lingering legal technicalities to be resolved before they begin issuing licenses. But clerks in Pueblo and Larimer counties began issuing marriage licenses hours after the high court announced its decision.

"I felt like Suthers did not have the authority to tell us when we could or when we couldn't start issuing the licenses," said Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz. "We were well within the rights of the Constitution to issue these marriage licenses."

Stacey Nowlin and Leona Rogers — apparently the first same-sex couple to receive a license in Colorado since the high court's action — were married at the Pueblo office around noon.

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Background Photo Credit: Kasia Broussalian © 2015