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US: Colorado judge rules in favour of gay marriage, immediately issues stay

Ashley Chhibber July 10, 2014

DENVER, CO - MAY 1: Anna (L) and Fran Simon, both of Denver, Colorado, are the first same-sex couple to be issued a Civil Union license at a midnight ceremony in the Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder, at the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building on May 1, 2013 in Denver, Co. Colorado is the eighth state to have civil unions or similar laws implemented, permitting unmarried couples, both gay and heterosexual, the ability to form civil unions and get similar rights to those of married couples. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

A judge in Colorado has overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage, only to put his own judgement on hold until it is backed-up by a court with greater authority.

Adams County District Judge C. Scott Crabtree ruled on Wednesday that the state’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. He wrote: “The court holds that the marriage bans violate plaintiffs’ due process and equal protection guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

He also said that limiting same-sex couples to civil unions instead of marriages “is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples.”

Nevertheless, he immediately issued a stay on his own ruling “pending a resolution of this matter on appeal”, saying that the “final chapter of this undoubtedly has to be written in either Denver, Colorado, or Washington, DC”.

“The court finds that a stay is necessary to avoid the instability and uncertainty which would result in the state of Colorado if the court did not stay its ruling and for the orderly administration of justice,” he said.

Judge Crabtree becomes the 16th judge to rule against state’s gay marriage ban, since the Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage by striking down DOMA last year.

His decision comes a week after the state’s Democratic Governor and Republican Attorney General, who disagree on same-sex marriage, jointly requested an injunction to put the issue on hold until the Supreme Court can make a wider ruling.

Judge Crabtree’s decision came on the same day as the Utah Attorney General announced he will make an appeal against a similar decision in Utah directly to the Supreme Court.

Wednesday also saw the commencement of a state lawsuit against Hillary Hall, a county clerk in Boulder County, Colorado, who issued over 100 same-sex marriage licenses despite the ban.

The motion against Hall was filed by Republican Attorney General John Suthers. In a statement responding to Judge Crabtree’s decision, he said: “Judge Crabtree provides additional clarity that until the high court rules on the issue of same-sex marriage, Colorado’s current laws remain in place.”

“Adherence to the rule of law will bring about the final resolution with the greatest certainty and legal legitimacy,” Suthers added.

Colorado’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was narrowly passed in 2006 with 55% of votes. However, a poll in April this year found that 61% of voters in Colorado supported same-sex marriage, with the figure rising to 81% in the 18 to 29 age group.

More: attorney general, Boulder County, Colorado, DOMA, equal marriage, judge c scott crabtree, marriage ban, same sex marriage, stay, US

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