DE FACTO LEGAL

County Clerks In Missouri and Colorado Go Rogue And Start Issuing Marriage Licenses

marriage-licenseMarriage equality isn’t legal in Missouri or Colorado, but that’s not stopping some county clerks in those states from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In a sign that marriage equality is considered de facto law even where the court cases aren’t finished, clerks in both those states have started issuing marriage licenses even though courts haven’t given them the go ahead.

In Colorado, the county clerk in Boulder decided to issue the marriage licenses in light of the U.S. District Court of Appeals ruling about Utah’s marriage ban. The court’s ruling, which was upheld a lower court ruling striking down the ban, would also apply to Colorado (as well as Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming). However, the court stayed the ruling, so it has yet to take effect.

That hasn’t detered Boulder county clerk Hillary Hall, who began issuing marriage licenses immediately. “Given the 10th Circuit’s recent decision and the numerous other cases on this issue, I would be surprised if a judge in Colorado were willing to invalidate a marriage license simply because the parties to the marriage were the same sex,” she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the city issued marriage licenses to a handful of same-sex couples, sticking a thumb in the eye of the state’s marriage ban. “I felt that if we didn’t do these things, and we didn’t do this here in St. Louis, it wouldn’t be done anywhere else in the state of Missouri,” Mayor Francis Slay said.

That put state Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat who supports marriage equality, in the uncomfortable position of seeking an injunction to stop the practice. The court decided to take no action after the city agreed not to issue any more licenses for the time being.

In and of themselves, the actions in Boulder and St. Louis are fairly limited. However, they point to a much bigger issue: many government officials believe that state laws and constitutional amendments banning marriage equality are simply not valid any more. Moreover, they’re willing to act on that belief. It will be another year before the Supreme Court settles the issue once and for all, but in the meantime, plenty more officials will follow suit and start behaving as if marriage equality is the law of the land.

 

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13 Comments

  • Dakotahgeo

    My goodness! Missouri DOES have more to offer than a mule and 40 acres…
    whooda thunk it?!

  • andy_d

    FYI, Queerty, it is either the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado OR the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

  • erasure25

    I believe Lt. Gov. Gavin Newson started this trend.

  • Cam

    I love these county clerks. Brave wonderful noble people on the right side of history.

    Thank you for giving those couples a wonderful gift. These are the people that don’t make the history books but really should. I hope they all have happy perfect lives.

  • Mezaien

    REMEMBER!! white Christian republican, are still the world ENEMYS.

    • Dakotahgeo

      @Mezaien: And remember, scum like you are the laughingstock of the world! Vomit on, little TURD!

  • tdx3fan

    You have NO idea if the Supreme Court will even address the issue. They could, and very likely will avoid taking any of the lower court cases. If they do, then the decisions from the appeals courts stand… meaning we will gain quite a few new states, but still not all of them.

    SCOTUS really does not need to weigh in on this issue at all now. I do not see them weighing in on it and invalidating that many lower case rulings. However, they also don’t have to confirm them.

  • tdx3fan

    @Dakotahgeo: Its actually an amazingly beautiful state, and Saint Louis is an amazingly beautiful city. Its nice to see it be this progressive.

    • Dakotahgeo

      @tdx3fan: I was not referring to it beauty or lack of it. I WAS referring to its very backward stance on things political (= Repugs) and ethical. MO does happen to be light years ahead of Kansas… until the next election! Governor Brownsh*t and his Repugnican Mafia are toast!

  • tdx3fan

    @Mezaien: I am a white, gay, atheist Republican that votes Democrat ONLY because of gay rights issues. If you legalize marriage, I will most likely never vote Democrat again (I could care less about ENDA because I entered a career field that does not practice discrimination to begin with… where I am actually probably more welcomed because of being gay). So, what does that make me?

  • EGO

    Isn’t it great that there are intelligent people such as clerks, mayors, judges, etc. who take the bold steps to support LGBT equal rights in those backward states. The sooner the court judges make decisions based on civil logic rather than bigoted religious thinking the sooner equal rights for all citizens will become a reality.

  • cvdixon29

    I just don’t see all hype about getting married. I was married to a woman once and thank God I am not anymore and I can be who I am. However, Marriage was like jail, it’s just a piece of paper saying you can legally sleep together basically and when you divorce your partner or spouse takes you to the cleaners and gets almost everything. I just don’t get it, but hey if that’s what you want then go for it. Everyone should be equally miserable if they choose.

    • Dakotahgeo

      As a minister, I can assure you that I have refused to marry people because I knew Holy Wedlock would ultimately lead to Unholy Deadlock. I was correct… within 6 months those couples were separated or divorced. And so it goes… I have no problems with Marriage Equality. They will either be just as happy or just as miserable as any other couple. It IS up to the individuals!

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