Six same-sex couples file federal lawsuit over Colorado's gay marriage ban

DENVER - Six couples in Colorado filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday challenging what they call Colorado’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages.

It comes after the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage ruling that it violated the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and due process. The court, however, put it's first-of-a kind ruling on hold until the case could be heard by the Supreme Court.

"From a legal perspective, this case really ought to be a slam dunk," said attorney Mari Newman, whose firm is representing the couples. "And it's not often that lawyers get to say that. But here the 10th Circuit has been absolutely clear."

Newman said she's confident the case will be successful because it will eventually go before that same court.

The couples involved gathered Tuesday afternoon, absent one pair who was delivering their second child. Several couples spoke about the importance of the right to marry when it comes to their kids.

"I want them to be able to go to school and say, 'Yeah my parents are married,' and for it not to be a big deal anymore," said Rachel Catt.

Catt's sister came with her son for support.

"It doesn't make any sense in the world that she has different rights than me," said Laura Adducci. "I'm feeling an enormous amount of pride coupled with a lot of frustration that this has taken so long. That it's 2014 and were still talking about creating civil rights in the United States."

The lawsuit names Gov. John Hickenlooper, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, and two county clerks as defendants.

The plaintiffs are Catherine Burns, Sheila Schroeder, Mark Thrun, Geoffrey Bateman, Rachel Catt, Cassie Rubald, Breanna Alexander, Stacy Parrish, Angela Cranmore, Julianne Deloy, Karen Collier and Denise Lord.

The complaint cites the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last week, "“[T]he Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.”

Eight years ago, voters banned gay marriage in the Colorado constitution.

Nine other couples sued the state in February. They also claim the gay marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution. In June, Judge C. Scott Crabtree heard arguments in that case and another case involving two women denied a marriage license. Crabtree has not yet issued a ruling.

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