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

Thursday, July 3, 2014
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“We understand there is frustration with the lengthy judicial process, but waiting until the legal process is finished will ensure that marriage licenses issued to same sex couples are not clouded by uncertainty,” the statement continued. “We hope the U.S. Supreme Court will take this matter up quickly. Equality for everyone can’t come soon enough.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.)

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.)

Meanwhile, Boulder County has been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples after the Utah ruling despite Suthers telling officials to stop.

In a letter to Suthers Wednesday, Boulder County Attorney Ben Pearlman said that Clerk Hillary Hall will continue issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, saying that failing to do so would violate their constitutional rights.

Suthers has maintained that Colorado’s constitutional ban on gay marriage remains in place until a definitive court ruling on the matter.

However, the letter from Pearlman, written on behalf of Hall, argues they are in the right, citing several court rulings finding that gay-marriage bans are unconstitutional.

“Clerk Hall is prohibited from knowingly violating an individual’s constitutional rights,” the letter said. “Given all of the other law in this area, the 10th Circuit’s decision to stay its mandate is too fragile a shield to hide behind.”

Hall’s office has issued nearly 100 marriage licenses to gay couples since last Wednesday.

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The attorney general’s office did not immediately issue a reply to Boulder’s letter. Suthers has said the licenses are invalid and that he and Hall should seek guidance from the Colorado Supreme Court on the matter.

Gay-rights activists applauded the signal from Suthers and the governor that Colorado’s ban on same-sex unions won’t stand. But they argued that the marriage prohibition should be lifted immediately.

In a state lawsuit in Adams County, a gay couple argued in a Wednesday filing that the Colorado Supreme Court could abolish the marriage ban independently of the federal case. The couple’s lawyers argued that delaying marriage for a year or more while awaiting a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court isn’t necessary.

“That would be grossly unfair to Colorado’s same-gender couples,” the lawyers wrote in the filing Wednesday.

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