Routt County sees 1st same-sex civil union


— Two Routt County women were the first in the county to take advantage of a new law allowing civil unions that went into effect Wednesday.

Routt County Deputy Clerk Barb Houston said the couple did not want to be identified.

“They seemed glad to be able to do it and had a few questions,” Houston said. “I think they’ve been together for a while, so they were just excited to do it.”

The couple was the only one to come into the clerk's office Wednesday for a civil union license.

Starting at midnight, hundreds of couples in Denver and Boulder made their relationships official in the eyes of the law. The Denver Post reported that the One Colorado advocacy group had paid to have the Clerk and Recorder offices open after hours.

Other counties began issuing licenses Wednesday morning.

Senate Bill 11 was signed into law March 21 and grants couples — straight and gay — the right to have civil unions that allow them many of the same rights married couples have.

According to the Post, eight states allow civil unions or have similar laws. Nine states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email


Scott Wedel 4 years ago

So are civil unions public records like marriage licenses? So will the paper print lists of civil unions or will it protect their identity?


mark hartless 4 years ago

If they owned a gun their names might be on the front page.

And, in a way, isn't this kind-of like the argument for getting rid of anonymous posters?

You know, "have the courage to put your name bla bla bla..."

I heard on the news that somewhere like Boulder opened their office at midnight so they could issue the first one of these dear folks their license the other day.

I thought that was funny because if I show up to get a building permit after 3pm they would tell me they didn't have time for me.

And forget getting ANYTHING out of those folks after 5:01 pm, or on any one of what seems like 200 "holidays", or fridays when they are "running on a tight budget", etc, etc.

But for something as important and "ground-breaking" as a same-sex union they will stay open all night???


Scott Wedel 4 years ago


Apparently you missed the part about the government offices being paid by a group to open at midnight.

I'd expect that if you would gladly pay whatever it cost for the building dept to open at midnight to submit your ground breaking building plans then they'd arrange it.


mark hartless 4 years ago

Scott, you are a great ambassador for the almighty state; making excuses for almost every move it makes. But you do not strike me as one who has had to do business with it.

I (we) pay exorbitant taxes NOW and you can't even do business with many municipalities on Fridays during regular business hours.

Oftentimes there is one (and only one) individual in certain "departments" who can help you, and when they are on vacation or "out of the office" (one of my favorites) my life has to wait-my business stops- I and my project are, at that moment in time, being held hostage to the schedule of smoeone my taxes pays... and boy THAT really tastes grrrrreat!

When I submit site plans for approval I have to cough up huge "plan review" fees. Then I wait, and wait, and wait... sometimes for many, many months.

I put up tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonds for infrastructure and landscaping, etc.

I pay tens of thousands of dollars in stormwater fees, "environmental fees" , building permit fees.

Then I pay 5-8% in taxes on every single stick and brick that goes into the project.

Then I pay property taxes annually... EXORBITANT property taxes.

Then I pay income taxes on the small amount the almighty gubbamint is gracious enough to let me keep at the end of the year.

Then, when I take THAT down to the grocery store to feed my family I pay 5-8% sales taxes on it AGAIN.

So listen, you little know-it-all, you don't impress me one little bit with your excuse-making for an entity that even Hellen Keller could see is sucking the lifes blood right out of this republic


john bailey 4 years ago

and I got a dollar ninty eight left over. first rounds on me.......


James Earley, MCSE 4 years ago

I'm all for civil unions - to each his own; it's none of my business. But what I do find objectionable is seeing grown men kiss each other full on the mouth on 9 News as I'm eating my breakfast. And if that makes me a homophobic a-hole then that's what I am.


rhys jones 4 years ago

James -- Serves you right for watching 9News -- I worked for their sister station in Phoenix, KPNX, also Gannett, and they're as gonzo as anybody. I'd be running red lights on the way to the fire, because if I didn't catch flames, it never saw the air. It's dog-eat-dog, in the local news business. Flash -- Bang -- Wow. They take seriously their "agenda-setting function" by directing our attention to what's important and defining the New Morality for us.

Don't suppose you caught Charlie Daniels at Howelsen, summer of '88... he did "Uneasy Rider 1988" to the original tune of the "takin a trip out to L.A." ballad, only this time he and his buddies end up at Cloud Nine, a gay bar in Houston -- "there was fellers kissin' fellers" -- which led to a ruckus, culminating in gravel spinning from wheels in the parking lot, calling Daddy to throw bail... I don't care who you are, that was funny!!


john bailey 4 years ago

so that's where those lyrics came from, Mario Andretti would of sure been proud...........LOL go nuggets.......


Steve Lewis 4 years ago

Mark, When I re-developed our property I was tempted to register Republican one particularly frustrating day of permitting. But for the subsequent re-development around me, I was glad to know they would meet the same standard. The extra rigor makes for value. Anything built in this valley prior to the 70's has a fair chance of being shoddy work, particularly in regards to rotting structure and poor foundation placement. The 70's marked the arrival of a serious building dept and better construction behind each permit.

One might say govt staff have it too easy, but my plumber made those clerks look like true professionals. State and local governments have shrunk more than the private sector. Obviously that means fewer staff to go around. Thought you would be the first to approve.

"Too many taxes" begs the fair question - which country has a system you like better?


mark hartless 4 years ago

What country has a system I like better? Easy answer: America- circa 1970, Steve... "shoddy construction" and all.

When I was a kid, this was a free country, and it was a GOOD country. Today it is rapidly turning into a micro-managed nanny state full of special interest groups, fiefdoms, favor peddlers and politicians who are corrupt to the core... just like much or the rest of the world that people used to flee on their way here.

Why build homes to last for a century when the Wal Mart or football stadium or By-Pass will have them demolished in 30 or 40 years anyway? And the ones left standing will be obsolete, energy-wise, even if built to "extra rigor[ous" standards today.

And I tend to disagree with the rigor making for more "value". While it might be true in some cases it also makes for UNAFFORDABLE housing. Something you might be a bit fammiliar with, no??

Some people CAN'T AFFORD a Cadillac nor can they afford that "extra rigor" you personally find so comforting. They are struggling just to make the rent payments, and that "extra rigor" is like a freakin millstone around their necks.

Today I rent units for $800 that I used to rent for $450 when I first started. Not all, but MUCH of the difference is in the ridiculous development costs caused by that "extra rigor" you prize. I can assure you, someone sitting at their kitchen table struggling to decide whether to pay the electric bill or buy groceries tomorrow doesn't give a tinkers dam whether their walls are 2x4 or 2x6.


Scott Wedel 4 years ago


The Denver and Front Range Clerk's offices did not promise to change their actual processing of applications by being open at midnight. They just agreed to be paid to have extended hours. So, the parallel for the building dept would be that they are just as willing to take months and be entirely frustrating after being paid extra to accept your plans at midnight.

Personally, I think that government building depts should be eliminated. Property insurance, lenders and anyone else with an interest in the property is going to want certification of proper design and proper construction methods. So there is a strong private market justification and need for the service. Lenders and such are going to want the certification to be done well. So the standard o

But a building dept did nothing about the unsafe modifications at 4th and Oak that nearly killed people when it caught fire. If the building dept is useless at protecting people from unsafe buildings a block away from the building dept offices then why it is believed it is generally of any value?

Yes, there is benefit in plans being reviewed for construction worthiness and that buildings are properly built, but there is no particular reason to believe that government is better than the private sector. In fact, because of the potential to use technology (such as digital cameras taking periodic pictures to monitor work instead of an occasional inspection) to improve the process strongly argues that the private industry should be expected to do a better job than government.


Scott Wedel 4 years ago

Dealing with private companies never requires a fax any more. Dealing with government often requires printing something and then faxing it. Generally, any interactions with government feels like going twenty or thirty years into the past.

Private industry is under constant pressure to improve or lose to tougher competition. Meanwhile, government lacks any economic force to strive for efficiencies since government receives tax revenues regardless of performance. In fact, efficiencies can threaten the jobs of government employees which creates political pressure to not find efficiencies.

Private industry has completely changed from a model of one manager per half dozen employees to one manager per couple of dozen employees. Very few governments have made similar structural changes.

Private industry has undergone huge changes in HR depts, often simply laying off that dept and outsourcing at a far lower cost. Very few governments have made similar changes.

Oak Creek has a Comprehensive Plan that describes Main St as a pedestrian mall. And they just reaffirmed that as among the priorities of the Comprehensive Plan. Meanwhile, for at least six years they are the only water district in the State of Colorado unable to meter commercial water accounts. According to a recent Town Board meeting, it is "in progress" as it has been for decades. Any private industry would have demanded a schedule with milestones.


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