Adams County couple files lawsuit to overturn Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage

BRIGHTON - A Colorado couple is suing to overturn the state ban on same-sex marriage.

Dr. Rebecca Brinkman and Margaret Burd filed the suit in Adams County District Court Wednesday, according to attorney Ralph Ogden.

The lawsuit alleges that Article II, Section 31 of the Colorado Constitution, which states that “only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid and recognized as a marriage,” violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Brinkman and Burd went to the Adams County Clerk and Recorder’s office and applied for a marriage license, Ogden said. The deputy clerk said they were not eligible to marry each other because they are both female, and instead offered them an application for a civil union. 

"They rejected this offer because civil unions are more akin to a business relationship than to the expression of dignity, love, respect and commitment that married heterosexual couples enjoy because they are married," Ogden stated.

Ogden argues that Colorado's civil union statute does not give same-gender couples the same rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor.  That ruling requires the federal government to give same-gender couples, who are lawfully married in a state which recognizes such marriages, the same rights to federal benefits as lawfully married heterosexuals.

"However, because Colorado refuses to allow same gender marriages, these federal benefits are denied to members of a civil union," Ogden said. 

The Supreme Court justices also effectively ended Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban, when they denied proponents the right to defend it in Hollingsworth v. Perry.

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