Jul 22, 2014 12:27 AM by Kelsey Kennedy
Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder, Gilbert Ortiz, says he decided to stop issuing same sex marriage licenses after getting a letter that he says threatens legal action from the Attorney General's office.
The first couple to apply for their marriage license in Pueblo, Jessie Finau and Stephanie Martinez, have mixed feelings about the decision.
"As sad as the news is, it's in some ways kind of exciting," Finau says. "We're still on a very progressive foot forward.
Around 40 same sex couples have received marriage licenses in Pueblo County in the past ten days, but are they still valid?
"Their marriages are valid and their marriages are legal until the United States Supreme Court says otherwise," says Daneya Esgar, the President of the Southern Colorado Equality Alliance. "I can see this going all the way to that level."
The Attorney General's office says the licenses are invalid, saying Ortiz didn't have the legal authority to issue them. The office hasn't however, made the effort to have them invalidated by a court.
"It doesn't change the path that I believe our country is on," Finau says. "It doesn't change the path that I believe that the battle for human rights is on."
The Attorney General's office issued a statement saying, "We are gratified that Clerk Ortiz has recognized that he needs to be on the right side of the law. No matter one's views on the issue of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court of Colorado has made clear that until it has had a chance to rule on the merits, clerks must enforce the state's laws, which are still in effect."
Ortiz began issuing the licenses on July 11th. He released a statement saying, "I have decided to avoid adding to the Attorney General's already heavy sum of wasteful litigation in this matter." He goes on to say, "Pueblo County will wait for further clarification on the constitutionality of a clearly unconstitutional law."
While disappointing, Finau and Martinez say today's decision wasn't unexpected.
"We knew this was a possibility and we were up for the challenge," Finau says. "We were up for the fight. That's because when we met, we knew that we were going to fight all of our battles together, and we were going to face all our triumphs together."
The couple just received their marriage license in the mail on Monday.