As the Denver Post's Jesse Paul reports, same-sex marriages are taking places across Colorado today as the last remaining stays against county clerks are vacated. After years of political battles, lost elections, and in the end anticlimactic court decisions responding to public opinion that has shifted dramatically, marriage equality is the law in Colorado:
Douglas County started issuing same-sex marriage licenses at 8 a.m. on Tuesday…
In Jefferson County, the first same-sex licence was issued at about noon, and Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson said it was "pretty exciting."
Anderson expects a similar number of same-sex marriage licenses as civil unions. The county has issued 241 civil unions.
The licenses are being issued in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday to deny appeals against laws allowing same-sex marriage and a subsequent proclamation that the marriages will now be legal in Colorado.
9NEWS has more from Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, a Republican:
"I believe strongly in individual rights," the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson said. "I personally support marriage equality, and I am proud to be part of this historic day."
Polling shows that Colorado voters are strongly in favor of marriage equality today–61% in favor to only 33% opposed. That's a sea change from the electorate's mood in 2006, when a gay marriage ban was passed in Colorado and even civil unions failed a popular vote. In the past eight years, the issue has evolved right out from under Colorado Republicans–to the extent that the GOP House majority's shenanigans in 2012 to stop a civil unions bill from passing the legislature playing a significant role in Democrats retaking that chamber in November.
And it's another moment where GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner's long record is now a liability. As a state representative, Gardner voted against joint custody for same-sex couples in adoption cases. In Congress, Gardner voted against funding to implement the repeal of the military's hated "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. At the same time, Gardner's long string of flip-flops in this campaign is a major liability all by itself. And with the press now paying critical attention to what he says, it's an increasingly dangerous ploy.
With all of that in mind, what is Gardner supposed to say about same-sex marriage? Answer, as FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports: as little as possible.
"My views on marriage have long been clear," Gardner said to FOX31 Denver. [Pols emphasis] "I believe we must treat each other with dignity and respect. This issue is in the hands of the courts and we must honor their legal decisions.
"While others might seek to divide Coloradans, I will not do that. Coloradans are tired of politicians who spend all their time on partisan hot-button issues that divide our state…"
The problem with that, of course, is that Democrats didn't force the Supreme Court to take this action. Before Republicans found themselves on the wrong side of public opinion, Gardner was more than happy to campaign against, and vote against, the very same equal rights for gay and lesbian citizens that the Supreme Court has upheld and much of the state is celebrating today. The fact is, this is an issue both sides have spent a great deal of time and effort on–LGBT Coloradans and Democratic allies in support, Gardner and Republicans opposed.
The only difference today is that Gardner's side lost.