US: More Colorado counties follow lead of clerk given green light for same-sex marriages
At least two more counties in the US state of Colorado have announced that they will soon begin marrying same-sex couples, after a judge ruled in favour of a clerk who had defied instructions to allow gay couples to marry.
Boulder County judge Andrew Hartman ruled that Hall can continue issuing licenses, stating that although same-sex marriage is illegal in Colorado, Hall is not harming anyone with her actions.
The motion against Hall was filed by Republican Attorney General John Suthers, who claimed her “disobedience irreparably harms” the state.
Since, Denver and Pueblo counties have announced that they will join Hall, and begin issuing licences to same-sex couples.
“No court has upheld the constitutionality of marriage bans for 23 consecutive rulings – at state or federal levels all over the nation – that’s significant and can’t be ignored,” said Gilbert Ortiz, Pueblo County clerk and recorder.
“Denying constitutional rights is an untenable position and I have to respect the Constitution, the courts and move forward.”
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Colorado’s Attorney General John Suthers has also vowed to appeal to higher courts the ruling allowing Hall to continue issuing the marriage licences, as well as a separate ruling on Wednesday which struck down Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage.
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.
Hall has issued over 100 same-sex marriage licenses since the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Colorado and five other US states, found bans of same-sex marriage unconstitutional in a case concerning Utah.
Hartman warned that Hall must tell couples that the validity of their licences may be brought into question by later rulings by higher courts.
Other counties are weighing up whether they will allow gay couples to marry immediately.
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