On Wednesday, 22 March 2006, the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee passed HB 1357 and sent it to the Senate for vote. This bill will close access to the marriage applications in Colorado. We do not know when the HB 1357 will come up for a vote but think that it may happen very soon.

The Colorado genealogical community needs to act NOW! I encourage everyone to take the following steps:

1. Call your senator and ask that he or she vote NO on HB 1357 (contact information provided below).
2. Write your senator and ask he or she to vote NO on HB 1357 (email preferred but postal okay).
3. Call Senator Jim Isgar, HB 1357 sponsor, at (303) 866-4884.
4. Write Senator Jim Isgar at isgarsenate@frontier.net.

Inform all Coloradans about HB 1357 and encourage them to help in defeating this bill by contacting their senator. We will all be affected by this bill.

As you know, the information of genealogical value contained on the marriage application and not included on the marriage license is: names of parents for bride and groom, date of birth, marital status, last name if different at birth. If marriage applications are closed, we will loose access to this vital genealogical information.

Using your own words, ask your senator to vote “NO” on HB 1357 and include the following points:
-your name, address, and your district number to identify you as their constituent
-express your concern regarding HB 1357
-recognize that HB 1357 seeks to limit access to marriage applications in order to protect citizens from identity theft
-as genealogists, we are concerned that this bill would limit access to family history information for genealogical purposes
-support legislation that would keep records open

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Dear Senator [insert name],
I am a concerned citizen residing in the [insert #] district. This letter requests that you vote “NO” on HB 1357 which would close marriage applications in Colorado. While I commend the efforts of our elected officials in their efforts to prevent identity theft, restricting access to these records is not the solution.

HB 1357 would have a negative impact on records access in our state. This bill would prevent all genealogists access to the records that are vitally important to tracing our family history.

I request that you vote “NO” on HB 1357.



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Contact Information:

To find the name and contact information of your senator, go to the Colorado General Assembly web site and click “Senators”

Send postal mail to [Senators name], 200 E. Colfax, Denver, CO 80203

Contact information for the sponsor, Senator Jim Isgar: (303) 866-4884, 200 E. Colfax, Denver, CO 80203, isgarsenate@frontier.net

Below is additional information with the text and summary of the bill.

Text of the bill:
SECTION 24-72-204 (3) (a), Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SUBPARAGRAPH to read:
24-72-204. Allowance or denial of inspection – grounds – procedure – appeal. (3) (a) The custodian shall deny the right of inspection of the following records, unless otherwise provided by law; except that any of the following records, other than letters of reference concerning employment, licensing, or issuance of permits, shall be available to the person in interest under this subsection (3):
(XIX) Applications for a marriage license submitted pursuant to section 14-2-106, C.R.S. A person in interest under this subparagraph (XIX) includes an immediate family member of either party to the marriage application. As used in this subparagraph (XIX), “immediate family member” means a person who is related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Nothing in this subparagraph (XIX) shall be construed to prohibit the inspection of marriage licenses or marriage certificates or to otherwise change the status of those licenses or certificates as public records.
SECTION Safety clause. The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.

Summary of bill:
Prohibits a custodian of records from allowing a person, other than the person in interest or an immediate family member of the person in interest, to inspect the application for a marriage license of any person.