By Shelby Clark Petkus
The Denver Posts writes that, just hours after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court struck down Utah’s ban on gay marriage, Colorado’s Boulder County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The appeals court covers Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico and Kansas.
The office of Colorado’s attorney general, however, stated any same-sex marriage licenses wouldn’t be valid. Only two couples were married before the office closed at 4:30 p.m. on June 25.
The move against equality comes after Colorado’s Attorney General, John Suthers, issued a June 18 statement reaffirming the state’s constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage.
Suthers wrote, “Today’s decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals was stayed by the court and has not gone into effect even in Utah, let alone in Colorado. Any marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Colorado before a final court resolution of the issue are invalid.”
Despite these remarks by the attorney general, clerks’ offices in Lafayette and Longmont will start issuing same-sex marriage licenses on Friday. Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall said she’ll continue to issue licenses at the Boulder office.
Hall, who consulted with the county’s legal team, determined that the court’s stay order applied only to Utah. “We think it is both legally and morally correct,” Hall said of her decision. “Colorado’s prohibition on same-sex marriage has treated our citizens and families as second-class citizens for too long.”
Boulder County has a longer history of same-sex marriage activism than most; in 1975, Boulder County Clerk Clela Rorex issued a few gay couples marriage licenses until she was ordered to stop by then-Colorado Attorney General, J.D. MacFarlane.
Like Michigan’s most recent issues with the DeBoer vs. Snyder case, if the current stay applies to the entire 10th Circuit, same-sex marriage licenses may become invalild. Ann Gushurt, attorney and co-counsel in the court case against Colorado’s gay-marriage ban, hopes possible invalidation will be just a temporary setback.
“In the long run, I think they’ll all be valid,” Gushurst said. “It is inevitable that marriage bans everywhere will fall.”