On Wednesday morning, a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. The court affirmed Utah District Judge Robert Shelby’s landmark December ruling, in which he found the state’s 2004 gay-marriage ban violated fundamental constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The ruling in the Kitchen v. Herbert case is this first handed down in a line of current federal appeals cases on state gay-marriage bans.
The judges stayed their ruling, pending appeal, so for now the ruling hasn’t changed any laws. But couples in Utah have been celebrating, as they have in the other states of the Tenth Circuit — Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming — and around the country. In Colorado, Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Wednesday. Clerks in nearby Lafayette and Longmont plan to follow her lead and begin issuing them on Friday. State Attorney General John Suthers’ office says the licenses are not valid.
Denver residents told the Colorado Independent they welcomed the ruling, that the state’s same-sex civil unions law, so hard won in the legislature, was in the end a half measure.
Jim Doeschner: “Ten years ago, a friend of mine in Florida said gay marriage was going to be a huge national issue, and certainly the right wing made it one. I think they’re beginning — it seems they’re beginning to realize their mistake and that more inclusiveness is better, for everybody.”
* A Note on the last tweet in the video: The Tenth Circuit decision was unequivocal in ruling that marriage is a fundamental constitutional right, for gay couples as it is for straight couples. But Judge Paul Kelly in the minority did offer a dissent on that point.