DENVER (AP) — Dozens more gay couples received marriage licenses in Colorado on Friday as a third county began granting them in the midst of a legal fight to resolve the issue for good.
Pueblo County, the latest in the state to give marriage licenses to gay couples, had served 25 couples by the end of the day, including two people from Mississippi who heard the news while traveling through Colorado and decided to get a license, Clerk Gilbert Ortiz said.
Pueblo joined Boulder County and Denver in allowing gay couples to marry, one day after a state judge ruled Thursday that the Boulder clerk can continue issuing licenses.
Some couples exchanged vows outside the clerk's office, while others took them home to hold a ceremony later.
Colorado's 2006 voter-approved gay marriage ban remains on the books. But state District Judge Andrew Hartman said it is "hanging on by a thread" following rulings by another state court and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In Denver, Clerk Debra Johnson began granting gay-marriage licenses Thursday, shortly after Hartman's ruling. The county has granted more than 50 licenses to gay couples.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers had sought to block the issuing of licenses, warning of "legal chaos." In a statement Thursday, he pledged to go to the state Supreme Court as soon as possible "to prevent a legal patchwork quilt from forming."
In Boulder County, 12 more gay couples got licenses Friday, bringing the total to 135 since the county clerk started issuing licenses two weeks ago. That's when the appeals court panel found Utah's gay marriage ban unconstitutional.
The ruling became law in all six states covered by the 10th Circuit — including Colorado — but the panel immediately put it on hold while Utah appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, District Judge C. Scott Crabtree struck down Colorado's ban, joining multiple other judges who have done the same in other states. Crabtree also placed his ruling on hold while the legal battle plays out.