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Colorado Supreme Court Lifts Injunction, Allows County Clerks To Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73e065169970d-250wiThe Colorado Supreme Court has lifted injunctions against three county clerks in Colorado, clearing the way for them to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, The Denver Post reports. The move from the Colorado high court comes after the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday denied to hear an appeal of the 10th Circuit's ruling that found Utah's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. That ruling was interpreted to apply to Colorado as Colorado falls under the 10th Circuit's jurisdiction:

[Colorado Attorney General John] Suthers filed joint motions with the clerks to the Supreme Court Monday night, asking them lift the injunction and dismiss the case. The court granted the requests around 9:30 Tuesday morning.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73df7457a970d-150wiWithin minutes after the court handed down its orders, Boulder and Denver county clerks announced their offices would resume issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Suthers also asked clerks to wait until after the legal technicalities were cleared before they started issuing marriage licenses. But clerks in Pueblo and Larimer counties began issuing licenses Monday afternoon.

Douglas County began issuing same-sex marriage licenses Tuesday morning and Hall announced her office would resume issuing the certificates moments after the Colorado Supreme Court handed down its order.

As the Post notes, couples in Colorado have already begun marrying following SCOTUS' decision yesterday.

The three county clerks involved in the case before the Colorado Supreme Court were Hillary Hall of Boulder, recorder Gilbert Ortiz of Pueblo County and recorder Debra Johnson of Denver. Each clerk was halted due to Suthers' intervention. At the time, he commented that these clerks were doing "irreparable harm" to the state by issuing the licenses.

Colorado Attorney General: Clerks Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Are Doing 'Irreparable Harm' to State

In a filing this past Sunday Colorado Attorney General John Suthers called for the Colorado Supreme Court to put a stop to Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall’s issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

John-william-suthers-fullbodyUSA Today reports:

In an unusual motion filed late Sunday evening, Suthers acknowledged that a federal judge last week declared unconstitutional the state's ban on same-sex marriage, but said the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately needs to decide. The federal judge who struck down that ban last week also said his order wouldn't go into effect for a month, giving higher courts time to review it.

From the Attorney General’s office:

"Each day that one clerk continues to issue same-sex marriage licenses — and publicly declare those licenses' validity, despite the state marriage laws and the attorney general's statements to the contrary — greater social and legal chaos ensues because the public is left confused and uncertain about the legal validity of such marriages and the role of clerks versus the role of the courts or other government officials in determining whether to enforce state law."

Hall has stated that she will continue to issue licenses due to a Boulder County-specific exception has allowed her office to do so despite the state’s Supreme Court orders for the Denver County clerk to desist. Hall has yet to provide a comment on Suthers’s latest attempt to stand in the way of marriage equality.

Watch the Clerk’s Office’s official video announcing their support for same sex marriage AFTER THE JUMP...

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Coloradans Face Off in Gay Marriage Battle: VIDEO


20140630__01DC_SameSex~1Last Wednesday, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (pictured) filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking an injunction against any further litigation seeking to overturn the state's ban on gay marriage while the Tenth Circuit deals with the appeal of their recent ruling holding Utah's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Suthers move is being seen as a preemptive one seeking to immediately halt marriages if and when Colorado's ban in struck down and prompted by the Boulder County clerk Hillary Hall (below) who has interpreted the Tenth Circuit ruling as justification to begin handing out marriage licenses to gay Coloradans.

The Daily Camera reports:

Attorney Jean Dubofsky, who successfully argued against the constitutionality of Colorado’s anti-gay Amendment 2 in Romer v. Evans, also put the attorney general’s move Wednesday in the context of the pending state marriage cases, in comments to the Daily Camera.

“It’s like he’s seeking some sort of pretrial relief in the federal case in Denver, and trying to forestall a ruling by the Adams County District Court,” Dubofsky said. “If I were the federal district court judge in Denver, I would say, ‘Wait a minute, this case hasn’t even gone anywhere yet. Why am I being asked to stay everything?’”

20140702__03dcamarw~1_200Attorney General Suthers' move seeks to halt an ongoing lawsuit of several same-sex couples from Colorado who are suing State Governor John Hickenlooper for the state's denial of their right to marry.

Hill, like some gay rights groups, is pushing the Governor and Attorney General to consider the families whose legal status is in limbo. Said Hill of her actions in a statement last Thursday:

I believe it is a waste of resources for the Attorney General to keep denying people their constitutional right, but that is his prerogative until there is a Supreme Court case squarely addressing the issue. The question now is what public officials like me should do in the meantime. I think the least harmful and most sensible solution is to issue marriage licenses and avoid the potential of more civil rights violations while this plays out in court. I hope the court will agree with me.

Meanwhile, protesters and counter-protesters are battling at a Boulder intersection. The Daily Camera went and spoke with some of them.



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