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Colorado Judge Rules State Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional, Stays Ruling

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A Colorado District Judge has ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. But Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree also issued an immediate stay in the case.

The ruling involves a lawsuit filed by nine Colorado couples from Adams and Denver Counties who claimed the state’s 2006 voter-approved ban violated the U.S. Constitution.

In his ruling the judge wrote, “the Court holds that the Marriage Bans violate plaintiffs’ due process and equal protection guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The existence of civil unions is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples and does not ameliorate the discriminatory effect of Marriage Bans.”

You can read Judge Crabtree’s decision here.

Adam's County District Court Judge Crabtree Ruling

In a statement released by Why Marriage Matters, a Colorado LGBT advocacy group, Wendy Howell said the state’s LGBT community is one step closer to marriage equality.

“Today’s ruling, combined with the earlier decision of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, leaves no room for doubt that Colorado’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional and indefensible. With court after court recognizing the freedom to marry, their decision should be a simple and immediate one,” she said.  

The ruling could be appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

This ruling is not directly linked to a hearing which also took place in Boulder County on the same day. A judge is considering a lawsuit filed last week to stop Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall from issuing same-sex marriage licenses. 

Hall says a ruling last month by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage gives her the authority to begin issuing licenses.

Utah has said it will appeal their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In response to Judge Crabtree’s order, Attorney General John Suthers issued the following statement:

“Judge 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. The county clerks are agents of the state and should be bound by the stay order."

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