Monday, October 06, 2014

How Same-Sex Marriage Is Unfolding In 11 States

AP Plaintiffs Moudi Sbeity, right, and his partner Derek Kitchen, one of three couples who brought the lawsuit against Utah's gay marriage ban, kiss following a news conference Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, in Salt Lake City. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Utah and four other states that had sought to bar weddings between gay couples.

The Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in 11 more states Monday, for a total of 30, when it rejected a set of appeals. As many as 60 percent of Americans now live in states where same-sex marriage is legal.

Here's what's happening Monday in the affected states:

COLORADO

Pueblo County is now issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The decision from county Clerk Bo Ortiz comes after Republican state Attorney General John Suthers said Monday his office will file motions seeking to quickly lift federal and state court rulings that halted gay marriage. Suthers has yet to advise clerks if they can begin issuing licenses, but Ortiz said there was never a court order against Pueblo County to delay.

INDIANA

Gov. Mike Pence reaffirmed his commitment to traditional marriage on Monday but said he will follow the law regarding unions of same-sex couples. Pence said people are free to disagree over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to reject an appeal of a ruling striking down Indiana's gay marriage ban. But he said people are not free to disobey the decision. County clerks have issued a few licenses to same-sex couples but say they've seen no mention of Monday weddings.

KANSAS

The Sedgwick County Courthouse is turning away same-sex couples seeking to get a marriage license after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for such unions. Kerry Wilks and Donna Ditrani went to the courthouse in Wichita with their minister on Monday to get a marriage license. After the clerk refused to give them paperwork to get a license, the couple said they'd be happy to be plaintiffs in a lawsuit expected to be filed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the Kansas ban.

NORTH CAROLINA

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina says it will file a request seeking an immediate ruling from a federal judge overturning the state's ban as unconstitutional. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has previously said that a federal appeals ruling overturning Virginia's ban is binding in his state and that he does not intend to file any further appeals or seek delays.

OKLAHOMA

Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin were among the same-sex couples in Oklahoma who were issued marriage licenses Monday. The two were plaintiffs in a challenge to Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage, which was overturned by a federal appeals court earlier this year. The Tulsa County Court Clerk's Office issued the couple a license Monday afternoon. Bishop and Baldwin said they planned to have a wedding ceremony later Monday in Tulsa. Same-sex marriage licenses also were issued to couples in several other Oklahoma counties Monday.

SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said he will continue to fight to uphold the state constitution's ban on gay marriage. He pointed out that a judge has not ruled on a lawsuit by a gay couple legally married in Washington, D.C., seeking to overturn the South Carolina gay marriage ban. A lawyer for the same-sex couple, Carrie Warner, said she will soon file paperwork asking a federal judge to immediately rule in their favor. The attorneys said they hope the state will realize that money spent fighting the ban could be used in other ways.

UTAH

Gay couples in Utah began applying for marriage licenses Monday, and a handful of same-sex weddings occurred in Salt Lake County. Gov. Gary Herbert directed state agencies to recognize the marriages. Troy Williams, the executive director of the LGBT advocacy group Equality Utah, said the organization is overjoyed for the families involved.

VIRGINIA

Gay couples have started marrying in Virginia. Thirty-year-old Lindsey Oliver and 42-year-old Nicole Pries received the first same-sex marriage license issued from the Richmond Circuit Court Clerk's office shortly after 1 p.m. Upon leaving the courthouse, they were married by gay-rights advocate The Rev. Robin Gorsline. The couple said Monday also was the anniversary of a commitment ceremony they held on a North Carolina beach three years ago.

WEST VIRGINIA

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican, said he is still figuring out how the state's case will be affected. "In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's surprising decision to not review this matter, we are analyzing the implications for the West Virginia case," spokeswoman Beth Gorczyca Ryan said in an email.

WISCONSIN

County clerks were accepting applications for marriage licenses from gay couples on Monday, but relatively few were submitted. In Milwaukee and Dane counties, where most of the roughly 500 same-sex weddings took place in June before a federal judge's decision was put on hold, only three or four applications were turned in. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell said he thought most same-sex couples who did not marry last summer would likely take their time planning weddings. And even those who wanted to tie the knot quickly were unlikely to do so Monday. Wisconsin has a five-day waiting period to receive a marriage license after an application is made.

WYOMING

A state district judge has scheduled a Dec. 15 hearing on their request by three same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality to grant the right to marry. The Wyoming case is similar but not identical to those in federal court, and those fighting for gay marriage in Wyoming were hesitant to declare unconditional victory. But same-sex marriage could be legal in Wyoming by year's end.
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