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Colorado officials ask court to declare same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Thursday, July 3, 2014
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Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.)

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.)

DENVER — Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Attorney General John Suthers asked a federal court Wednesday to issue an injunction declaring Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

But they want the court to delay implementation of the ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue.

The filing highlights what has been tumultuous and fast-moving legal wrangling in the state since last week, when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in a Utah case that same-sex couples have the right to marry. The ruling was put on hold pending appeal.

Since then, Boulder County’s clerk has been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples over Suthers’ objections, and six couples filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Denver seeking to overturn the state’s ban.

Hickenlooper and Suthers’ request for an injunction is in regards to the federal lawsuit filed by the six same-sex couples Tuesday, but there are also pending cases in Denver and Adams County, which were filed months ago.

Although Hickenlooper and Suthers agree with the plaintiffs’ request for an injunction in the federal case, the plaintiffs do not want a stay.

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“It’s time for Colorado to get in line with the tide of history and allow same-sex partners to marry,” said Mari Newman, the attorney for the couples in the federal case.

Suthers’ office said he wants to resolve the question of gay marriage and avoid costly litigation.

But while Hickenlooper and Suthers agree there should be an injunction and stay, they still disagree on same-sex marriage. Hickenlooper said he believes last week’s federal appeals court decision against Utah’s gay marriage ban was correct. Suthers does not, according to his court filing.

In a statement, Hickenlooper called the filing for an injunction “an important step that gets all Coloradans closer to receiving the same legal rights and opportunities.”

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