Same-sex marriage case in Denver gets big reaction


  • Kevin Dooley

On Wednesday, nine gay couples filed a civil rights lawsuit in Denver District Court demanding that alleging that the state of Colorado's refusal to allow them to marry, or to recognize gay marriages from other states, violates the U.S. Constitution.

Since 2006, Colorado has had a voter-approved amendment to its Constitution that prohibits gay marriage, though the state did recently legalize civil unions.

The complaint states, however:
Colorado’s recognition instead of second-class and unequal relationship recognition through civil unions does not cure these violations. Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court declare Colorado’s prohibition of same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize valid out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples unconstitutional and issue an injunction requiring defendants (a) to issue marriage licenses to the unmarried plaintiffs, and (b) to recognize the existing marriages of the plaintiffs lawfully married in other states.
Read the full complaint here: 

See related PDF 2014-02-19_Complaint_for_Decl._Relief.pdf

Same-sex marriage is rapidly gaining ground across the country, in large part due to judicial action. Following the announcement of the suit, many gay-rights advocates reacted with support:
Colorado LGBT Groups and Advocates for Equality Issue Statement on Marriage Equality Litigation Filed in Denver County

DENVER — Today, a challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was filed on behalf of multiple same-sex couples in Colorado. Following the announcement of this litigation, the statements below were released by state LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, ACLU of Colorado, GLBT Community Center of Colorado, Colorado GLBT Bar Association, and the Faithful Voices Coalition.

Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado:

“Just like thousands of other loving, committed couples across Colorado, the courageous plaintiffs who brought forth today’s case simply want to take care of their families and make a lifelong promise to the person they love. We share their goal of achieving marriage equality as quickly as possible, but we also want to ensure that victory endures – which means creating a climate where all Coloradans are free to live openly in their own communities. There’s a difference between having a civil union or marriage license and feeling comfortable enough to put a picture of your spouse on your desk at work. So as this issue moves toward resolution – either by our courts or at the ballot box – it’s critical that we keep building public support for the freedom to marry by talking to Coloradans about why marriage matters to our families. And One Colorado is proud to be doing that work right now, in every corner of our state.”

Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, Executive Director of ACLU of Colorado:

“The American Civil Liberties Union has been working for decades to secure marriage equality throughout the country, including here in Colorado. Over the past few years and especially the last few months, we’ve seen an astonishing and welcome shift toward Americans embracing equality and the freedom to marry. As the country progresses, Colorado’s marriage ban increasingly places our state at a competitive and moral disadvantage. We recognize the courage and resolve of these couples and their attorneys as they pursue, through the courts, the freedom to marry that all Coloradans deserve. And as advocates for full equality, we will continue to facilitate the important conversation across our state about why all families deserve the full dignity and protection that only marriage can provide.”

Mindy Barton, Legal Director of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado:

“The GLBT Community Center of Colorado has been supporting equality for gays and lesbians in this state for almost four decades. As this litigation moves forward, we are proud of the plaintiffs and their attorneys for standing up to show that no one should be treated differently just because of who they are and who they love. In parallel with these efforts, we know it’s vital to keep doing the important work of educating the public and talking to the people of Colorado about why marriage matters to all loving, committed couples – gay and straight alike. And The Center remains dedicated to having that important statewide conversation.”

Kyle Velte, President of the Colorado GLBT Bar Association:

“As an organization comprised of LGBT attorneys and focused on equality, it is inspiring to see this litigation filed. We recognize that litigation is one of several ways to achieve full marriage equality in this state, and we applaud the courage of the attorneys and plaintiffs – some of whom are members of our Association – as they move forward in this important legal fight.”

Jeremy Shaver, Spokesperson for the Faithful Voices Coalition, a coalition comprised of 215 faith leaders and 60 faith-based organizations in support of marriage equality:

“As people of faith, we believe in the Golden Rule – to treat others as we would want to be treated. In light of the litigation filed today, it is important to remember that freedom means freedom for everyone, and none of us should be treated differently just because of who we are. We believe marriage is best defined by love, commitment, and the ability to protect your family – and that is why we support the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples across our state.”

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