Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, 11:20 a.m. EDT
The Supreme Court on Monday denied appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin in which those states sought to prohibit same-sex marriage. The decision also means couples in six other states – Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming – should be able to get married soon.
The development effectively raises the number of states with legal same-sex marriage from 19 to 30 — a majority of U.S. states — and means that as many as 60 percent of Americans will be living in states where there is marriage equality for gays and lesbians.
Here’s what’s happening Monday in the affected states:
Clerks in some of Colorado’s largest counties were waiting for final court orders before issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, but other counties continued to grant them. State officials and clerks in Adams, Boulder, Denver and Jefferson counties asked courts to lift orders that technically prevent them from issuing licenses. With no such orders previously issued against them, clerks in Larimer, Pueblo and Douglas counties were issuing licenses.
Gov. Mike Pence reaffirmed his commitment to traditional marriage on Monday but said he will follow the law regarding unions of same-sex couples. Pence said people are free to disagree over the U.S. Supreme Court‘s decision to reject an appeal of a ruling striking down Indiana’s gay marriage ban. But he said people are not free to disobey the decision. County clerks have issued a few licenses to same-sex couples but say they’ve seen no mention of Monday weddings.
Some same-sex couples who applied for marriage licenses in Kansas were turned away after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for such unions. Kerry Wilks and Donna Ditrani went to the courthouse in Wichita with their minister but were not allowed to get a marriage license. Gov. Sam Brownback issued a statement saying he swore an oath to support the state constitution. “An overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the Constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas,” Brownback said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina says it will file a request seeking an immediate ruling from a federal judge overturning the state’s ban as unconstitutional. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has previously said that a federal appeals ruling overturning Virginia’s ban is binding in his state and that he does not intend to file any further appeals or seek delays.
Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin were among the same-sex couples in Oklahoma who were issued marriage licenses Monday. The two were plaintiffs in a challenge to Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage, which was overturned by a federal appeals court earlier this year. The Tulsa County Court Clerk’s Office issued the couple a license Monday afternoon. Bishop and Baldwin married later Monday in Tulsa. Same-sex marriage licenses also were issued to couples in several other Oklahoma counties Monday.