Colorado Court of Appeals says Boulder clerk can keep issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

BOULDER, Colo. - Colorado's Court of Appeals has denied another attempt by Attorney General John Suthers to force the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The ruling was issued by the court of appeals late Thursday afternoon. It denies Suthers' motion for a stay against Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall until his appeal of a lower court's ruling is resolved.

District Court Judge Andrew Hartman ruled earlier this month that the AG failed to prove that Hall's actions harmed the couples or the state and refused to stop Hall from issuing the licenses. Wednesday, the same judge denied the AG's request to reconsider his ruling.

Hall started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples about a month ago, after the 10th Circuit Court ruled that Utah's ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.

Because 10th Circuit decisions are binding in the State of Colorado, the precedent established by a Utah case, Kitchen v. Herbert, is applicable to the same-sex marriage ban contained in the Colorado Constitution, according to the Boulder County Clerk's Office.

"It's great to see that an appellate court ruled in our favor," Hall said. "Hopefully this means that the Attorney General will respect the appellate court's decision rather than filing more motions or appeals."

Suthers has maintained that the Boulder County clerk is misinterpreting the 10th Circuit Court's ruling.

"Colorado’s constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriages remains in effect. (The) decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals was stayed by the Court and has not gone into effect even in Utah, let alone in Colorado. Any marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Colorado before a final court resolution of the issue are invalid," Suthers has said.

In the weeks since Hall's decision to issue licenses, the Denver and Pueblo clerks also started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

However, Colorado's Supreme Court ordered the Denver clerk to stop last Friday and that office immediately complied.

While the decision did not include Boulder and Pueblo, Pueblo County agreed to stop issuing licenses at the request of the Attorney General's office. Boulder's clerk did not.

Print this article Back to Top