District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree on Wednesday ruled the 2006 voter-approved ban violates the [Colorado] state and federal constitutions. He immediately put his ruling on hold pending an appeal.Here is the ruling. Crabtree wrote:
Crabtree is the 16th judge to void a state's gay marriage ban since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal government has to recognize gay marriages in the states.
The Court holds that the Marriage Bans violate plaintiffs' due process and equal protection guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.He said his stay was meant to "avoid the instability and uncertainty which would result" if he allowed his ruling to take effect immediately.
The existence of civil unions is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples and does not ameliorate the discriminatory effect of the Marriage Bans. [...]
This Court is under no delusion that the resolution of the issue of same-sex
marriages will end with this Court’s decision or any lower courts’ decisions. The
final chapter of this debate will undoubtedly have to be written in either Denver,
Colorado or Washington, D.C. While the striking down of laws banning same-sex
marriages has been progressing at a rapid rate, it will take time for this issue to be
There's more below the fold.
Meanwhile, making a similar argument in a hearing at another state court Wednesday, state attorneys argued that Colorado's county clerks must await a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court before issuing marriage licenses:
But some of the 100 gay people who have been issued marriage licenses in recent weeks testified that they’re being treated like second-class citizens while waiting for the nation’s highest court to act.Hall followed in the footsteps of Clela Rorex, the former Boulder County Clerk and Recorder who issued some of the nation's first marriage licenses to six same-sex couples in 1975. Those licenses were voided but the decision to do so was never adjudicated.
“It still feels like a separate-but-unequal status,” said Samantha Frazee, a Longmont woman who has a civil union and received one of the 100 or so marriage licenses issued by Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall.
Hall began issuing licenses within hours of a June 25 ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturning Utah's ban on same-sex marriage. The 10th Circuit includes Colorado and four other states besides Utah. But that court also immediately stayed its ruling from taking effect until the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers demanded that Hall stop issuing licenses as of July 1 or he would file a lawsuit, but she refused. By the end of last week, she had issued 105 licenses to same-sex couples. At the hearing, Judge Andrew Hartman said he would rule on the Hall-Suthers dispute soon but gave no other details.
Hall told reporters two weeks ago, "How do you stay a fundamental right?"