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Same-sex marriage comes to Colorado

The fight for same-sex marriage rights in Colorado took a decisive turn earlier this month. On July 10, a Boulder County judge issued a ruling that allowed the Boulder County Clerk to continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. So far this month the clerk's office has issued 123 licenses for same-sex couples.

The Boulder County ruling came on the heels of a decision by an Adams County judge that Colorado's constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. That ruling has been stayed until an appeal in the case is decided.

The issue of same-sex marriage has not reached a final resolution in Colorado. Not all counties are following Boulder's lead; the Gilpin County Clerk and the Nederland Town Clerk have both stated they will not issue same-sex marriage licenses until the law is changed on a statewide basis.

Nationwide, twenty state and federal judges have struck down bans on same-sex marriage. Fifteen states in addition to Colorado now allow gay marriage. It may be only a matter of time before Colorado joins their ranks on a legally final basis.

Now that same-sex marriages are starting to be recognized in Colorado, some of those marriages will inevitably end in divorce. When that happens, the couples will face the same issues any other couple faces at the end of a marriage. Those issues include alimony, also known as spousal support, and property division. If there are children involved, the couple will also have to resolve the difficult issues of child custody and support. The availability of these legal obligations and rights in the event of a split is one of the benefits of marriage, and their availability to same-sex couples represents a turning point in Colorado history.

Source: The Mountain-Ear, "Leveling the Marital Ground," Barbara Lawlor, July 17, 2014

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