Colorado officials on Wednesday said
they would not defend the state's ban on gay marriage in a federal
lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper
and Republican Attorney General John Suthers asked a federal court to
declare invalid the state's ban but delay implementation until the
Supreme Courts has ruled in a separate but similar case.
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in
Denver last week upheld a lower court's ruling striking down Utah's
restrictive marriage ban. The ruling has reverberated in Colorado,
which is under the Tenth Circuit's jurisdiction.
Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall cited
the ruling in announcing she would begin issuing marriage licenses to
Plaintiffs challenging the ban – six
gay and lesbian couples – immediately cued up the Utah decision,
known as Kitchen v. Herbert, in their complaint.
“This is a civil rights action for
injunctive and declaratory relief seeking to declare unconstitutional
under the United States Constitution, Colorado's Constitutional
Amendment 43 and other Colorado laws banning same-sex marriage.
Simply put, 'A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license
to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely
upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.' This is because
'the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry,
establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of
a state's marital laws.' So held the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
in the case of Kitchen v. Herbert.”
In response, the state said: “On
account of the Kitchen decision, the Defendants do not oppose
the entry of a preliminary injunctive relief in favor of the
Plaintiffs based on their constitutional claims at this time, to be
stayed pending until all final appeals in the Kitchen case are
Utah Governor Gary Herbert has
repeatedly vowed to pursue the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
Hickenlooper in 2013 signed the state's
civil unions law and has stated his support for marriage equality.
Gov. John Hickenlooper endorses gay marriage.)