Jul 11, 2014 8:17 PM by Andy Koen
PUEBLO - Dozens of same sex couples made a dash to the Pueblo County Courthouse Friday morning to be first line to receive marriage licenses from the Clerk and Recorder.
Jessie Finau and Stephanie Martinez were deeply moved to have the government formally recognize their relationship in this way.
"People don't understand how this feels, and now to not be any different from anyone else, it's just amazing," said Martinez.
The women are not only the first same sex couple in Pueblo County to receive a marriage license, they were also the first in the county to join in a civil union at a mass ceremony held last May.
"There have been times even in my own life when I've called it just a piece of paper, where I'm like, 'It's just another piece of paper' and to actually have this piece of paper, it actually does change it's definition," Finau said.
Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Bo Ortiz says his decision came down to individual rights.
"I believe that this is the new normal, this is what we're going to see in the future; civil rights for everybody," Ortiz said. "I'm proud to be part of that."
The marriages are welcome news for some business owners in who serve the wedding industry. Florist Mardi Clay said she'd already provided arrangements for a civil union ceremony.
"They're already doing it, so I don't foresee too much change, but it would be a lovely boon for us if that's be the case," Clay said.
At Hopscotch Bakery, where the menu includes Honeymoon Bars and Love at First Bite cupcakes, the licenses signal changing attitudes in the community.
"If someone were to come in or a couple were to come in I'd be delighted to be a part of it. I'm a businesses woman, I don't judge who wants to buy my baked good, I want everybody to buy my baked goods."
Pueblo clergy members have a different take on things. Reverend Earl Stewart doesn't expect same sex couples to exchange at the altar of First Presbyterian Church downtown.
He acknowledges that the National Presbyterian Assembly recently voted to allow pastors to marry same sex couples, but says the change is not compulsory.
"It just gives freedom of conscience to those pastors who feel that they need to do it," Stewart said. "It does not bind anyone else who's conscience says no i can't do it which would be mine."
Additionally, a statement released Thursday by the Colorado Catholic Conference says the ruling by Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree "redefined the nature and purpose of marriage in Colorado."
"This decision - which he stayed until higher courts decide - advances a misinterpretation of the institution of marriage in modern society; reducing marriage to a sheer emotional arrangement redefined to accommodate the impulses of culture," the statement reads.
It goes on to encourage Catholics in our state to stand for the preservation of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.