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Colo. AG asks state’s high court to stop same-sex marriage licenses in Boulder

Colo. AG asks state’s high court to stop same-sex marriage licenses in Boulder

Updated: 3:30 p.m. MDT

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is trying again to stop Boulder’s clerk from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Attorney General John Suthers (R-Colo.)
Attorney General John Suthers (R-Colo.)

Suthers’ office filed a motion with the Colorado Supreme Court on Monday asking it to order clerk Hillary Hall to stop providing the licenses.

Both the Colorado Court of Appeals and a state judge in Boulder have refused Suthers’ previous requests to stop the licenses from being issued to gay couples in Boulder, the only Colorado county where they can now get them.

“I think the least harmful and most sensible solution is to continue to issue marriage licenses in order to avoid more potential civil rights violations,” Hall said Monday, calling same-sex marriage a fundamental right. She added that she would respect whatever the Supreme Court decides.

Colorado’s gay marriage ban, passed by voters in 2006, is still the law although recent rulings in federal and state court have found it to be unconstitutional. Those rulings have been put on hold during appeals. Suthers argues the state needs to have a consistent practice on gay marriage licenses until the issue is ultimately settled.

Around 200 gay couples have gotten marriage licenses in Boulder. Hall started issuing the licenses after the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on June 25 that Utah’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.

When a Boulder judge refused to stop Hall for the first time, likening her position to a form of civil disobedience, clerks in Denver and Pueblo followed suit. District Judge Andrew Hartman later denied an appeal from Suthers to stop the licenses.

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On July 18, the state Supreme Court ordered Denver to stop issuing same-sex licenses, but that ruling didn’t name Boulder. It also didn’t mention Pueblo, but the clerk there agreed to stop anyway. In Monday’s motion, Suthers’ office says that unless the high court acts now, the earlier ruling affecting Denver will be undermined.

“There is no sound judicial reason for the Denver Clerk to be prevented from issuing same-sex marriage licenses (temporarily), while at the same time allowing the Boulder Clerk to issue the same licenses,” Michael Francisco, the assistant solicitor general, said in Monday’s motion.

Suthers also is appealing to the state Supreme Court the Adams County ruling that called the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, a process that will take months.

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