Updated: 4:00 p.m. MDT
DENVER — Gay couples started getting marriage licenses Monday in parts of Colorado after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from several states seeking to ban same-sex marriage.
Republican Attorney General John Suthers said in a statement his office will file motions seeking to quickly lift court rulings that halted gay marriage, and will advise county clerks when they can issue licenses.
Although that official guidance from Suthers was still pending, Pueblo County Clerk Bo Ortiz said he began issuing licenses late Monday morning because there were no court orders preventing his office from doing so. At least one gay couple got a license there.
“Today marks a historic day on the march toward marital equality,” Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement. He added that “while there are a few more steps in the process, we are that much closer to declaring marriage equality for all Coloradans.”
Article continues belowColorado was among six states bound by appellate rulings that the Supreme Court declined to review, meaning the lower-court rulings stand. The justices did not comment on their decision Monday.
“This is the non-decision that will change the face of America,” said Mari Newman, a lawyer for the couples who successfully challenged Colorado’s gay marriage ban in federal court. That ruling has been on hold pending the Supreme Court’s actions.
Kate Burns, 51, one of the plaintiffs who challenged Colorado’s 2006 voter-approved gay marriage ban, said she called her partner, who was at the gym, as soon as she heard about the Supreme Court’s decision.
“She just started crying, and crying and crying,” Burns said outside the 10th U.S. Circuit of Appeals, where lawyers from the case held a news conference.