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Colorado Marriage Equality Stalled as Court Halts Boulder Weddings

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Boulder County Clerk Hillary HallThe push for Colorado marriage equality stalled for the moment, as the state Supreme Court finally forced Boulder County clerk Hillary Hall to stop issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The court ruling was in response to an appeal from Republican Attorney General John Suthers, who has been trying for several weeks to get Boulder’s clerk to stop giving marriage licenses to gay couples until there’s a definitive ruling on same-sex unions from the U.S. Supreme Court. The same court previously ruled in Suthers’ favor in ordering Denver to stop issuing licenses, but that ruling didn’t apply to Boulder. Boulder was the first Colorado county to begin giving licenses to gay couples in June after the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Utah’s same-sex marriage ban. That ruling was stayed pending appeal.

We also have a date for the state Supreme Court hearing in the case – October 20th.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

Colorado Marriage Equality Updates 7/12/14

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Colorado Map

As same sex couples marry in several counties, Colorado Marriage Equality could stay in this halfway state for almost a year.

KDVR reports:

“It’s not the ideal situation, it leaves the couples who are marrying with some uncertainty,” said Nancy Leong, an Associate Professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. “I think it creates the possibility of different practices in different counties, but I think that that could potentially be sustainable for a year.” That’s the amount of time that Leong and many other legal experts expect the Supreme Court to take before finally hearing and issuing a decision on gay marriage that will permanently resolve the questions that remain after the Court’s landmark ruling last summer. “It will be argued, probably, next spring and we’ll have a decision around this time next year,” Leong said.

That would be in sharp contrast to New Mexico, where the Supreme Court stepped in within months to clear up the confusion. Leong also thinks chances of a stay on weddings is unlikely during that time:

“(The judge) said the state has completely failed to show that there is irreparable harm,” Leong said. “I think just having a judge going on record and say that is something that is going to be potentially empowering to other jurisdictions.”

Meanwhile, the three counties (Boulder, Denver and Pueblo) have issued at least 210 marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Edge Boston reports:

Pueblo County, the latest in the state to give marriage licenses to gay couples, had served 25 couples by the end of the day, including two people from Mississippi who heard the news while traveling through Colorado and decided to get a license, Clerk Gilbert Ortiz said… In Denver, Clerk Debra Johnson began granting gay-marriage licenses Thursday, shortly after Hartman’s ruling. The county has granted more than 50 licenses to gay couples… In Boulder County, 12 more gay couples got licenses Friday, bringing the total to 135 since the county clerk started issuing licenses two weeks ago. That’s when the appeals court panel found Utah’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

Do we really think the state Supreme Court will let things go on this way for a year?

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Colorado Marriage Equality Expands to Other Counties

Friday, July 11th, 2014

colorado-map

After a judge gave the go ahead to the Boulder County Clerk to continue to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples yesterday, it seems to be spreading.

Denver has now thrown open the doors to same sex couples.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Denver’s clerk and recorder says she will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the state’s ban on gay marriage. Debra Johnson announced her decision shortly after a judge ruled that her counterpart in the liberal college town of Boulder can continue to grant gay marriage licenses.

The Stamford Advocate notes that Pueblo County is now issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples too:

An hour after the ruling, Denver’s clerk said she would join her counterpart in the liberal college town of Boulder in providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Pueblo County’s clerk said he will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses Friday morning.

9 News offers this status report of some of Colorado’s other counties:

Arapahoe County: Officials will not issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Douglas County: The County Clerk and Recorder is in the process of “seeking an interpretation” of the ruling from the County Attorney and others, and will later make a decision about the next step.

Larimer County: The County Clerk is in contact with her legal counsel, but says the county is not making a move at this point.

Broomfield County: Taking the issue under legal advisement before making a decision.

Towleroad.com has their own list of counties definitely not issuing licenses at this point:

At least four counties — El Paso, Arapahoe, Jefferson and Weld counties — said they had no plans to follow suit.

As Edge Boston reports, the marriages may be on shaky ground:

[Judge] Hartman found the marriage licenses weren’t hurting anyone and were an acceptable form of civil disobedience. However, he required all couples to be warned their marriage might have no legal value if a court later upholds the state’s ban. His decision left clerks around the state trying to figure out what to do next. Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner said clerks had to balance the risks of issuing licenses that might become invalid with violating people’s rights by declining to do so. “It’s sort of a rock and a hard place,” she said.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers will appeal. Pink News reports:

Colorado’s Attorney General John Suthers has also vowed to appeal to higher courts the ruling allowing Hall to continue issuing the marriage licences, as well as a separate ruling on Wednesday which struck down Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage.

This is all starting to feel a lot like New Mexico – will the state Supreme Court step in soon to clear it all up?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

Map via US census. Note: green = giving out licenses now; yellow = considering; red = decided not to

Judge Rules Boulder Clerk Can Continue to Issue Marriage Licenses

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Boulder County Clerk Hillary HallIn something of a surprise decision, a Colorado judge has given Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall the ok to continue giving marriage licenses to same sex couples.

SDGLN reports:

A Boulder County clerk who has been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of Colorado’s gay-marriage ban can continue, a judge ruled Thursday. Boulder County Judge Andrew Hartman decided county clerk Hillary Hall can ignore a federal stay on a ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver that states cannot set gender requirements for marriage. The judge said gay marriage is still technically illegal in Colorado but that Hall’s behavior was not harming anyone. But he said all who receive a license should be warned that they could still be invalid if a judge finds after trial that Hall didn’t have the authority to issue them.

Many had expected the marriage equality ruling in Colorado that was immediately stayed to stop Hall from issuing more licenses. Will this ratchet up pressure on the State Supreme Court to expedite the appeal of yesterday’s ruling?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

Two More Colorado Counties Will Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses Tomorrow

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

ColoradoAre we seeing a new Colorado marriage equality revolt like the one that brought same sex marriage to New Mexico?

The Dallas Voice reports:

As a result of the Tenth Circuit’s ruling yesterday that struck down the Utah marriage ban, Boulder County has begun issuing marriage licenses. Lafayette and Longmont counties will begin on Friday, according to the Denver Post. Colorado is in the same circuit as Utah, so the Boulder County clerk said the ruling applies to her state. The attorney general disagrees and said the licenses won’t be valid. By the end of the Wednesday, two couples were married. Boulder’s county clerk said she will continue issuing licenses today.

Keep an eye on Colorado over the next week.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.

Colorado Marriage Equality Breaks Out in Boulder

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Boulder County Clerk Hillary HallColorado marriage equality got a boost from a county clerk yesterday.

Towleroad.com explains:

Hillary Hall, the county clerk and recorder in Boulder, Colorado, has announced that Boulder will now provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Hall’s announcement comes on the heels of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling today to uphold a previous decision that struck down the state’s ban on same sex marriage. A news report from local news channel ABC 7 also reported that Hall’s announcement was influenced by another key decision that came down today, that of U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young who found that Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. According to The Denver Post, Hall said she is moving forward with the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses because the 10th Circuit has upheld “the fundamental right to marriage. Couples across Colorado have been waiting a long time to have their right to marry the person they love recognized,” she stated in the release. “I want to act immediately to let them carry out that wish.”

Colorado has a civil unions law and is facing a lawsuit for marriage equality. No word if these new weddings will have legal force or if/when the clerk will be ordered to stop. Hillary Hall, you’re our new hero.

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Colorado, USA: Boulder County Clerk’s Office to Open at 2 AM May 1st to Issue Civil Unions Licenses

Friday, April 5th, 2013

ColoradoWith the new civil unions law going into effect on May 1st, Boulder’s county clerk has announced extended hours to handle the expected flood of couples. ABC 7 reports:

Boulder County is expecting a flood of same-sex couples to line up for civil unions when they become legal under Colorado law on May 1. To handle the work, the recording division staff plans to open its office at 1750 33rd St. from midnight to about 2 a.m. to issue licenses to couples. The Boulder office will reopen for regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Branch offices at 529 Coffman St. in Longmont and 722 Main St. in Louisville will be open for regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 1.

While we applaud Colorado for passing the bill, we’re not sure there will be a flood – recent experience with civil unions bills suggests gay and lesbian couples are growing tired of these half-measures. But maybe we’re wrong – the bill does offer some real, concrete benefits.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Colorado.