Marriage licenses for same sex couples still in question

Colorado still in limbo after court opinions

DENVER - At least three county clerks in Colorado say they'll continue issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples this week.        

Several others have said they will wait until the legal and political wrangling settles down.

We've been getting questions about what these marriage licenses mean for employees and employers, and if same sex couples will get benefits.

"The reality is - you're kind of living in a world of uncertainty," said Norman Provizer, professor of political science at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “You could really be on both sides of the fence here.”

Tracey MacDermott and Heather Shockey proudly display their newly minted Colorado marriage license while standing in their backyard in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood.

"I thought this was many, many years down the road, still,” said MacDermott.

But what, exactly, this piece of paper entitles them to is still very uncertain, including benefits like family leave and medical visitation.

"Do I feel comfortable taking it to my employer?” said Shockey. “I would say, not just yet. Not until we have worked through this process."

“And in defense of my employer, I would completely understand the quandary they would be put in,” said MacDermott. “And I wouldn't want to do that to them."

Provizer said you could argue either side in Colorado. It's just a piece of paper, or it's as legitimate as any opposite sex marriage license.

He said this current state of limbo cannot continue, and it will be the U.S. Supreme Court that likely ends the confusion.

"And once that happens, there is no more uncertainty for the moment," said Provizer.

“I do believe it will be worked out," said MacDermott.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has ruled Utah's same sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. Utah is appealing that with the Supreme Court. The 10th Circuit decision applies to all six states in its region, but the court issued a ‘stay’ on its opinion until the Supreme Court weighs in.

          

Provizer said it's anyone's guess when the Supreme Court will take up that appeal, but he says in order to end the confusion here in Colorado, it will likely be soon.

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