Same-sex marriage change hasn't impacted Cheyenne Co.

Forms were updated, but there hasn’t been any applications filed


On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5 to 4 vote that the Constitution now guarantees the right to same-sex marriages in all 50 states.

According to Cheyenne County Clerk Beth Fiegenschuh, same-sex couples wishing to obtain a marriage license still go through the original process for an application.

“They did amend the marriage license,” Fiegenschuh said. “It now says ‘groom party A’ and ‘bride party B,’ but it is the same application process.”

So far in Cheyenne County, Fiegenschuh said there has not been any same-sex marriage license applicants or marriages.

For any couple to receive a marriage license in Cheyenne County, they must fill out a license form that can be printed online and brought to the County Clerk’s Office with the necessary proof of identification. Both parties must be present to finalize the license.

“Once they fill out the paperwork, we then put that into a machine and issue the marriage licenses,” she said. “Then the couple will have their ceremony and it’s signed by whomever officiated it and two witnesses. When that is done they bring it back and we file it with the state.”

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, same-sex couples have equal rights to marry, and a state doesn’t have the right to determine a domestic relationship.

“It’s the law and I will follow the law,” Fiegenschuh said. “I took an oath to uphold the law and I will issue the marriage licenses.”

Another concern has been health coverage for same-sex married couples. For coverage starting in 2015, all insurance companies that offer health coverage to opposite-sex spouses must now do the same for same-sex spouses. As long as a couple is married in a jurisdiction with legal authority to finalize the marriage, an insurance company can’t discriminate against the couple when offering coverage regardless of where the couple lives.

For Sidney Public Schools, all spouses including same-sex couples were covered under Blue Cross Blue Shield even before the Supreme Court passed the law.

“Even before it was legal in Nebraska our insurance covered all spouses,” said school board secretary Deanna Kantor. “It didn’t matter if the couple was married in another state before it was legal in Nebraska, it was Blue Cross Blue Shield’s rule that as long as they were legally married somewhere they were covered under the policy. So, nothing has changed.”

Human resource administrators for the City of Sidney said they would have to look into who was covered in their insurance policies and if there were any changes made since the ruling.


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