Edi Hogsett and Marcia Neale were a same-sex couple who were together for thirteen years. When their relationship ended, they jointly sought a dissolution of a common law marriage. Later, Marcia argued that she and Edi were not actually married, in part because they could not have legally married prior to marriage equality.
The trial court found that the couple was not in a common law marriage, and a Colorado Court of Appeals agreed, but noted that same-sex couples should be able to enter into common law marriages even before marriage equality. The Colorado Supreme Court agreed to consider the case specifically to address how courts should determine whether same-sex couples have entered common law marriages. NCLR, the Colorado LGBTQ Bar Association, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, and Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, represented by Hogan Lovells, LLP, filed an amicus brief urging the Court to consider the realities of homophobia and violence faced by same-sex couples in determining whether they have openly lived as a married couple, which is one of the requirements of establishing a common law marriage in Colorado.