COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Groups in Southern Colorado are reacting to the same-sex marriage debate taking place in Boulder.

Colorado's constitution bans same-sex marriage. But the Boulder county clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples last week, after a Denver-based federal court of appeals overturned Utah's gay-marriage ban. The ruling was put on hold, and the state attorney general has told the clerk to stop issuing licenses or face legal action.

"I think the message that is being sent there is, that the attorney general is defending the ban on marriage and Boulder County is wanting to truly offer equality," said Charles Irwin, executive director of Colorado Springs Pride.

He said the state's same-sex marriage ban needs to be overturned.

"There are thousands of committed LGBT folks, same sex, same gender couples that want to protect their families, protect their loved ones, protect each other and we don't have that right now," he said. "We simply want equality and we want to protect our families and love our families like everyone else."

But not everyone agrees. Carrie Gordon Earll, public policy senior director at Focus on the Family is siding with the attorney general.

"The people of Colorado followed the law when they passed the marriage amendment of 2006 defining marriage as a man and a woman," she said. "This county clerk is defying the law and violating the law by deciding on her own that she's going to issue these licenses. "We need to be careful, regardless of your convictions, or your ideology or your politics, we need to abide by the law."