A Boulder County clerk began issuing same-sex marriage licenses after a federal appeals court ruled that states cannot prevent gay couples from getting married. But the Colorado attorney general says the licenses are invalid because the court's ruling was put on hold.
Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall said in a statement Wednesday "unless a court in Colorado or the U.S. Supreme Court tells me otherwise, I plan to begin issuing licenses." Hall said the decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel Wednesday made it clear that marriage is a fundamental right.
The three-judge panel in Denver ruled 2-1 that states cannot deprive people of the right to marry simply because they choose a partner of the same sex. The ruling was immediately put on hold pending an appeal.
The office of Attorney General John Suthers released the following statement on the matter:
Today, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 ruling finding Utah's ban on same-sex marriage to be in violation of the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process. The 10th Circuit itself delayed the effect of its order pending resolution of the case by the United States Supreme Court. Subsequent to that decision, the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder announced Wednesday afternoon that the office would begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
In response to the court’s ruling and clerk’s announcement, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers issued the following statement:
“Colorado’s constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriages remains in effect. Today’s 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.
As Colorado Attorney General J.D. MacFarlane opined in 1975 when the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder issued same-sex marriage licenses, ‘the issuance of a license under such circumstances is useless and an official act of no validity and may mislead the recipients of the license and the general public.’”