Wed February 19, 2014
Marriage Equality

Same-Sex Couples File Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Colorado

Following the lead of similar lawsuits in Utah, Virginia and Kentucky, nine same-sex couples have filed civil rights litigation against Governor John Hickenlooper and Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson saying the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Colorado’s 2006 constitutional amendment bans same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit claims that Colorado law creates “two classes of citizens: those free to marry the person they love, and those denied that fundamental right.” Some of the nine couples are legally married in other states, so part of the challenge is to Colorado’s refusal “to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples lawfully entered into in other jurisdictions.”

If a couple is married legally in one of 17 states and the District of Columbia, their marriage is not recognized by the state and converted into a civil union (which passed in Colorado in 2013), something the lawsuit claims is a denial of “equal protection, due process, and basic fairness” and violates the U.S. Constitution.

One of the nine plaintiffs in the suit, Kris Miccio, spoke to KUSA TV last year about her intentions to bring a lawsuit against the state of Colorado.

"It's no longer a marriage," Miccio said. "It's downgraded to a civil union."

She uses the word downgrade for several reasons. The obvious difference between the two types of recognition has to do with the significance carried by the word "marriage" in society.

"For me, civil unions is codified second-class citizenship," Miccio said. "When my daughter hears that this isn't a real family and her mommies aren't real mommies and that her mommies can't get married, when she was younger, she feels less than. And that's not healthy for children."

Read the lawsuit below.

2014-02-19 Complaint for Decl Relief