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How marriage equality is unfolding in 11 states affected by Supreme Court action

How marriage equality is unfolding in 11 states affected by Supreme Court action

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: COLORADO 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. INDIANA 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. KANSAS 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. NORTH CAROLINA 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. OKLAHOMA 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.

Kem Highfill, left, and Richard Rehm fill out their marriage license at county clerks office Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Madison, Wis. after a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban.
Kem Highfill, left, and Richard Rehm fill out their marriage license at county clerks office Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Madison, Wis. after a federal judge struck down the state’s gay marriage ban.
Andy Manis, AP


South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said he will continue to fight to uphold the state constitution’s ban on gay marriage. He pointed out that a judge has not ruled on a lawsuit by a gay couple legally married in Washington, D.C., seeking to overturn the South Carolina gay marriage ban. A lawyer for the same-sex couple, Carrie Warner, said she will soon file paperwork asking a federal judge to immediately rule in their favor. The attorneys said they hope the state will realize that money spent fighting the ban could be used in other ways.


Gay couples in Utah began applying for marriage licenses, and a handful of same-sex weddings occurred in Salt Lake County after Gov. Gary Herbert directed state agencies to recognize the marriages Monday. Suzanne Marelius and Kelli Frame were the first same-sex couple to pick up a license in Salt Lake County. Earlier in the day, the three gay couples who sued over Utah’s ban exchanged kisses and cried at a news conference.


Gay couples have started marrying in Virginia. Thirty-year-old Lindsey Oliver and 42-year-old Nicole Pries received the first same-sex marriage license issued from the Richmond Circuit Court Clerk’s office shortly after 1 p.m. Upon leaving the courthouse, they were married by gay-rights advocate The Rev. Robin Gorsline. The couple said Monday also was the anniversary of a commitment ceremony they held on a North Carolina beach three years ago.


Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican, said he is still figuring out how the state’s case will be affected. “In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s surprising decision to not review this matter, we are analyzing the implications for the West Virginia case,” spokeswoman Beth Gorczyca Ryan said in an email.


County clerks were accepting applications for marriage licenses from gay couples on Monday, but relatively few were submitted. In Milwaukee and Dane counties, where most of the roughly 500 same-sex weddings took place in June before a federal judge’s decision was put on hold, only three or four applications were turned in. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said he thought most same-sex couples who did not marry last summer would likely take their time planning weddings. And even those who wanted to tie the knot quickly were unlikely to do so Monday. Wisconsin has a five-day waiting period to receive a marriage license after an application is made.


A state district judge has scheduled a Dec. 15 hearing on their request by three same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality to grant the right to marry. The Wyoming case is similar but not identical to those in federal court, and those fighting for gay marriage in Wyoming were hesitant to declare unconditional victory. But same-sex marriage could be legal in Wyoming by year’s end.

Developing story. This report will be updated.

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