Jeffco clerk supports gay marriage

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Anderson, a Republican, takes stand in letter to constituents

By Ramsey Scott

Jeffco Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson is publicly supporting the right of gay couples to wed, even though the county will not issue same-sex marriage licenses until the issue is resolved in the courts. 

"I believe strongly in individual rights, and I personally support marriage equality and look forward to the day when that right is available to all," Anderson, a Republican, said in a letter to her constituents this month.

The letter from Anderson, who is not running for re-election in November, appears at http://jeffco.us/recording/news/2014/letter-from-clerk---recorder-on-same-sex-marriage-licenses.

“I think (I made my opinion known) for two reasons," Anderson said Monday. "One, I’m an elected official, and I think people want to know where I stand. I’m not a policy-maker, but I do administer the process. So I didn’t feel it was appropriate to duck it.”

Anderson was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on July 1 claiming the state’s denial of same-sex marriage licenses is unconstitutional. Anderson was named along with Gov. John Hickenlooper, state Attorney General John Suthers and Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson.

That case, Burns vs. Hickenlooper, was filed after a 10th Circuit federal judge on June 25 ruled Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The court in the Utah case, Kitchen vs. Herbert, also issued a stay against issuing marriage licenses until Utah had a chance to appeal. 

Another case is working its way through the Colorado courts challenging the legality of a voter-approved constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. 

While Boulder and Denver began issuing same-sex marriage licenses after the ruling declared Utah’s ban unconstitutional, Anderson said her position was that the courts should decide the issue before Jeffco issues same-sex licenses.  

“I think I was clear (in my letter) that my opinion on the issue doesn't matter. It doesn't play into this process legally,” Anderson said. 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates.