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Aspen residents celebrate same sex marriage decision

Marci Krivonen

Friday’s Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage a right in all 50 states, was cause for celebration in Aspen. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen caught up with revelers at a party at the base of Aspen Mountain.

The feeling at Ajax Tavern Friday was one of relief. Kevin McManamon of the non profit AspenOUT helped organize the party.

"This is very impromptu. We didn’t know if it was going to be a celebration or a wake, we weren’t sure, but we’re very pleased it’s a celebration," he says.

Credit Marci Krivonen
The party was partly organized by AspenOUT. It was held at Ajax Tavern.

Over the years, AspenOUT has raised money to achieve marriage equality through events like Aspen Gay Ski Week. The Aspen Skiing Company and the Pitkin County Democrats partnered with the organization to hold Friday’s party.

For local resident Dirk Schultz, the supreme court’s decision is life-changing. He’s marrying his partner of 9 years in August.

"You don’t feel like a second class citizen anymore, you feel like part of the American Fabric. It’s no longer saying, ‘You guys can have civil unions, or these rights, but not these rights.’ It just validates it and deepens our commitment."

Pitkin County Commissioner Rachel Richards says the community’s support for marriage equality goes way back. Aspen fought a state amendment that banned gay rights laws in the 1990s.

"Our community has had a very, very long history of supporting individual rights for all individuals regardless of color, sexual orientation, gender and age. So, this is a good day that reaffirms the type of community we are.”

Counties in the Roaring Fork Valley have been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples since October. The decision means those marriages will now be recognized in states like neighboring Nebraska, where same sex marriage was banned before Friday.