State Judge Refuses to Halt Gay Unions in Denver
A judge on Monday refused to stop a Denver clerk from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex, despite a still-active ban against the practice.
District Judge C. Scott Crabtree last week ruled that the state's 2006 voter-approved gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. But he put that ruling on hold pending appeal, meaning the Colorado ban remains in place. The next day, a separate judge in Boulder rejected a request by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to stop the clerk in that county from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
In the wake of the second ruling, Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson began to issue licenses to same-sex couples. Because some of the couples who had sued to overturn the ban hailed from Denver, Johnson was technically a party to the case Crabtree ruled on and required to honor the stay. Suthers' office late last week asked Crabtree to order Johnson to stop the marriages, saying that allowing the licenses to be issued despite the court's stay "will undermine Coloradans' confidence in their government."
On Monday, Crabtree refused. He noted the licenses were not issued in response to his ruling and said he had no jurisdiction to suspend them.
More than 200 same-sex couples have been married since Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall began to issue licenses in the wake of yet another ruling for gay marriage last month, that one from a Denver-based federal appeals court that struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban but also stayed its order. Pueblo County has joined Boulder and Denver in issuing the documents.