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Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional, but ruling stayed

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DENVER -- A judge in Adams County has ruled that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause, agreeing with 23 federal courts that have so far come to the same conclusion on same-sex marriage bans in other states.

The ruling Wednesday is the first decision on the constitutionality of Colorado's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, which was passed in 2006.

District Judge C. Scott Crabtree ruled that the arguments for keeping the ban, that marriage is about the "protection of families" and "procreation of children", are "recently fabricated" arguments for the purpose of denying that discrimination is occurring.

"It is merely a pretext for discriminating against same-sex marriages," Crabtree wrote.

Crabtree cited the legislature's passage of civil unions, which stop short of offering same-sex couples the same degree of legal protections as marriage, as evidence that Colorado's ban is discriminatory.

But Crabtree stayed the ruling, which could be appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

The ruling won't affect the showdown in Boulder where Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall has been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples ever since the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Utah's same-sex marriage ban.

Utah announced Wednesday it will appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers went to court to attempt to stop Hall from continuing to issue licenses until the issue has been resolved by a higher court.

He and Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who supports same-sex marriage, both agree that the state won't fight to defend its gay marriage ban but that clerks should wait to issue licenses until there's legal clarity on the issue.

Some LGBT advocates in Colorado were unhappy about that move, anticipating the decision from Adams County on the Colorado same-sex marriage ban.

Crabtree's ruling dismissed all claims against the governor, who will not be named in the lawsuit if it's appealed further.

Suthers released a statement on the Adams County decision saying Crabtree's order "reaffirms the fact that the fate of Colorado’s same-sex marriage law will rest with the United States Supreme Court."

"The Court properly found that the instability and uncertainty that would result from not staying the decision, including the issuance of marriage licenses by county clerks in the state, necessitated that the order be stayed," Suthers said. "The county clerks are agents of the state and should be bound by the stay order."

23 comments

      • NativeColoRN

        LOOK you California fruitcake. GO back to your financially bankrupt, morally polluted state! Marriage by definition was determined LONG ago.. YOU are the cave man..get over it..fruitcake!

      • vincent

        Marriage was once defined where a female was owned by the male as property like a car or house and he could strike his wife if he felt she deserved it but thats not how it is now. Marriage also used to only apply to whites and now thats not the case either. Its the fact that change happens as times change. Your religious beliefs should not dictate the lives of others you dont even know. I’m proud to say I was born and raised in Colorado and am a proud member of the LGBT community and happy to see equality happening. Being straight doesnt make you a better person, as evident in your angry rants

    • Matt k

      Butt it is marriage. You may not like it or want to call it that but that is exactly what it is. 19 states already have it and it’s working just fine. It’s only a matter of time before all 50 states have it.

    • Matt k

      What’s disgusting is your inability to see that these people who want equal rights are our sons and daughters, our aunts and uncles, our friends neighbors and co workers. They deserve to be treated with respect and equality.

  • Gen Schneider

    A great step in the right direction! Republicans claim they want less government involvement. With this ruling they now have less government involvement on what defines marriage. This brings us one step closer to the glorious day when any 2 consenting adults can get married.

  • NativeColoRN

    Further more, Chickenlooper is like Obama, he feels he does not need to obey or enforce the laws that are on the books…WRONG!
    REMEMBER this on election day..along with the Great Colorado Gun Grab, commuting CONVICTED Chuck E Cheese murder Nathan Dunlop’s death sentence to life and them changing how we vote and register in this state as well as hoe f and disconnected from the people they are supposed to serve!!we do recalls of politicians that are tone deak

    • David Garcia (@dagarcia85)

      You really think that looser Bob Beauprez has a chance to unseat Hickenlooper? Keep dreaming! What makes you think Beauprez’s chances will be any better than the last time he lost the election for the governorship?

  • Olisa

    Let the gays have the same miserable experience as the straights have. For F sake. Why do people care about this? MYOB!

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