BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. - "As things currently stand, nobody can be happy."
In a strongly-worded letter, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has instructed Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall that same-sex marriage licenses issued by that office are invalid. Suthers gave Hall's office until noon Tuesday to stop issuing the licenses.
Hall began issuing the licenses on Wednesday afternoon, hours after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Utah's ban on gay marriage. Colorado's constitutional ban is also under legal challenge, but Hall took the position that the decision about Utah applies here because Colorado is also part of the 10th U.S. Circuit.
"While we would have preferred to allow (the legal process) to play out in the traditional manner, the confusion caused by having one of the state's 64 clerks issue licenses while the other 63 do not requires more immediate action," Suthers wrote in a letter sent to the clerk on Friday.
If the clerk agrees, the AG's office is offering to file a joint request to the Colorado Supreme Court, asking the court to decide if the clerk has legal authority to issue the licenses.
The letter does not say specifically what Suthers' office will do if the clerk disagrees with the offer, but does say that compliance with the offer will "obviate the need for us to take any further action regarding your issuance of licenses."
Hall still issued same-sex marriage licenses as of Monday, and in a letter, asked the Attorney General for more time -- until July 10 -- to respond to the letter.
The Clerk's Office issued the following statement in response to the Attorney General's instructions:
"We received the Attorney General's letter late Friday and began reviewing it with our County Attorney and his staff. Because this is such an important issue we have requested additional time from the Attorney General's office to review their proposal. We hope they give us the time requested to fully review their proposal with our legal counsel."