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Jul 21, 2014 8:34 PM by Andy Koen

Pueblo clerk halts same sex licenses amid "legal threats"

PUEBLO - The Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder stopped issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples Monday. Clerk Gilbert Ortiz says his decision came as a result of what he called "legal threats" from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

His statement was emailed to the media along with a message from First Assistant Attorney General LeeAnn Morrill to Pueblo County Attorney Greg Styduhar pointing out the order issued by the Colorado Supreme Court stopping the Clerk in Denver County from issuing licenses until the court rules on the case.

Around 40 same sex couples have received marriage licenses in Pueblo County in the past ten days, 25 five of them were all signed on the first day.

Ortiz began issuing the licenses July 11, a day after a district court judge upheld the Boulder County Clerk's decision to wed gay and lesbian couples there in spite of the state's marriage amendment.

A federal appellate court had recently struck down a similar marriage amendment in Utah as being unconstitutional, thus prompting the Boulder clerk's actions.

Ortiz declined our request for an on camera interview, but said in a statement that he stopped issuing the licenses in order to, "avoid adding to the attorney general's already heavy sum of wasteful litigation in this matter."

"Pueblo County will wait for further clarification on the constitutionality of a clearly unconstitutional law," Ortiz said.

Suthers said in a statement he was gratified that Ortiz, "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," Suthers said.

Pueblo Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender advocate Daneya Esgar of the Southern Colorado Equality Alliance said she believes the 40 licenses are valid until the US Supreme Court says otherwise.

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