Kris McDaniel-Miccio on why she's suing to end Colorado's same-sex marriage ban
Supporters of two lawsuits attacking Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage are optimistic that a change is coming after a hearing this week in Adams County court. During the proceedings, Judge C. Scott Crabtree clearly seemed to be more persuaded by their arguments than those of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who chose to defend the law even though judges in fifteen other jurisdictions have struck down similar measures of late.
Demonstrators outside this week's hearing, from 7News coverage. Additional photos plus original documents and two videos below.
Kris McDaniel-Miccio has a unique perspective on the case. A former prosecutor turned law professor at the University of Denver, she's also a plaintiff. As such, her interest is both professional and very, very personal.
McDaniel-Miccio, who married her wife, Nan McDaniel, during a ceremony in New York, proudly calls herself a member of "the Denver nine" -- the number of couples who signed on to a lawsuit filed in February by the law firm of Reilly Pozner. That complaint has now been consolidated with a suit filed separately by Rebecca Brinkman and Margaret Burd, an Adams County couple who have been together for more than three decades. Naturally, McDaniel refers to Brinkman and Burd as "the Adams County two," and while she concedes that she was initially wary when the two suits were joined, her concerns have long since disappeared. "It feels right," she says.
As for the reasons she got involved, McDaniel-Miccio believes that "the very first thing for people to understand is that [the ban] diminishes the dignity of my relationship with my wife. It diminishes me as a person by saying my people -- gays and lesbians -- are the only ones that really can't marry in the State of Colorado.
"In the old days, if you were mentally defective, you were barred from marriage and barred from reproducing. So this is a stigma. It's about second-class citizenship, unlike what the Attorney General's office was attempting to argue yesterday."
McDaniel-Miccio, who was unable to attend the hearing (she's currently in Ireland) but followed it closely, is referring to Suthers' assertion that the prohibition protects the link between procreation and marriage.
"That idea is absurd," McDaniel-Micco maintains. "Even at straight weddings I've gone to over the years, nobody gets up there and says, 'I'm going to love, honor and procreate with you.'"
To McDaniel-Miccio, "marriage is the idea of coming together and declaring your love" -- a theme that underpinned the ceremony that united her and Nan. "We had two rabbis, not one: I wanted to make sure we had everything covered," she recalls. "And one thing that was so clear as we were joined by friends and relatives who'd traveled from California, from Israel, from Ireland, is that we were declaring our commitment to each other in their presence. They were witnessing it, and I think that's critical, especially in a society where we are so mobile. We need to be able to say this state recognizes all marriages between consenting adults -- not just ones they approve of. And they shouldn't come up with spurious reasons why not."
Attorney General John Suthers.
For instance, she points out that laws don't forbid people beyond the typical reproductive age from getting married -- and while believers in the procreation argument cite what she refers to as "the fertile octogenarian," she sees a flaw in the theory: "He may be shooting live bullets, but women have something called menopause. And as the judge said, when you go to get a marriage license, they don't ask if you're sterile or have the ability to reproduce."
Continue for more of our interview with Kris McDaniel-Miccio about the effort to end Colorado's same-sex marriage ban, including more photos, two videos and original documents.