Jul 11, 2014 5:04 PM by Joanna Wise
PUEBLO, Colo.-- Pueblo County joins Boulder and Denver Counties in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder's Office began issuing marriage licenses at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
Jessie Finau and Stephanie Martinez were the first couple to get a license. They waited on the steps of the county courthouse for a nearly an hour before walking in with Clerk and Recorder Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz.
Waiting- something the couple said they are all too familiar with.
After getting the certificate, the couple stepped into the hallway on the second floor. Family members, including Martinez's 8-year-old nephew, surrounded the couple.
"By the powers invested in me, I now pronounce you wife and wife."
Looking at each other and holding hands, the couple completed their nuptials with a kiss. Wearing a ring on her left hand, Martinez grasped the marriage license.
"People don't understand how this feels, and now, to not be any different from anyone else, it's just amazing," said Martinez.
"It's interesting because there have been times, even in my own life, when I've called it 'just a piece of paper,' and to actually have this piece of paper, it does change it's definition," said Finau.
Finau and Martinez were also the first couple to have a civil union in Pueblo more than a year ago. But they don't want to be identified as "the first same-sex couple."
"We want to be no different than anyone else who's (getting married)," said Martinez.
On the marriage license, the couple is stated as number 50,501. Finau said she has never been more proud of a number.
A handful of other same-sex couples also came into the clerk's office right as the doors opened. The couples ranged in age. Finau said she could tell some of the couples had probably been waiting much longer for this day than she and Martinez had been.
"It's a breath of relief for them. I can't even imagine."
Ortiz says he now feels a sense of relief. He believes he did the right thing, and ultimately it came down his decision came down to recognizing individuals' rights.
"I believe this is the new normal. This is what we're going to see in the future- civil rights for everybody. I'm proud to be a part of that," said Ortiz.
On Thursday, El Paso County officials said they will not be issuing same-sex marriage licenses as long as the state ban is still in place.
"To me, the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution is very clear. The rulings in other state and other entities (are) very clear," said Ortiz.
"Love is love," said Martinez.
The couple celebrated the historic day with a simple affair- breakfast with the family.
As of 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, the clerk's office issued 21 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.