A confusing series of court rulings has resulted in marriage licenses being issued to same-sex couples in some Colorado counties but not others.
On June 25, the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a gay marriage ban in Utah but issued a stay, pending a possible appeal. Hours later, Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing the ruling in the Utah case. (Like Utah, Colorado is part of the 10th Circuit.)
Gov. John Hickenlooper and Attorney General John Suthers originally agreed that Hall should stop issuing licenses and wait to see whether the federal court's decision would be upheld. The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review it.
But nothing has stood still since then. In a suit brought by a same-sex couple, Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree declared Colorado's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on July 9, then stayed his ruling. Hickenlooper announced his support for Crabtree's ruling and urged Suthers not to appeal it.
Suthers lost his bid to stop Hall when Boulder County Judge Andrew Hartman ruled against him July 10. Since then, Denver and Pueblo county clerks also have been issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Suthers tried to stop Denver's Deborah Johnson from issuing licenses July 14, but Crabtree ruled against him.
The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office is not issuing such licenses, says spokesperson Ryan Parsell. It plans to wait for a final ruling from the federal courts before acting.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit was brought by same-sex couples in federal court seeking to overturn Colorado's ban once and for all. And on July 14, Suthers asked the state Supreme Court to stop all Colorado counties from issuing marriage licenses and to decide whether the state's ban on same-sex marriages is constitutional.