In the most ironic decision on marriage equality since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act a year ago, a state judge ruled Colorado’s marriage law unconstitutional.
Normally that would be good news, but the ruling actually stopped same-sex marriages in the state.
After the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Utah marriage ban, several county clerks in Colorado began issuing marriage licenses. Because Colorado is in the same circuit as Utah, those Colorado county clerks reasoned the Utah ruling applied to them as well.And because the stay specified Utah, they reasoned the stay didn’t apply to them.
The county clerk in Boulder County continued issuing licenses despite threats from the state attorney general. So the AG took the matter to court where he lost yesterday.
Good news? Normally. But while the judge ruled that Colorado’s marriage law is unconstitutional, he placed a stay on his ruling pending further appeal.
Since the stay this time applies to Colorado, the county clerk in Boulder must stop issuing licenses.
About 100 licenses have been issued in Boulder and a separate hearing will be held to determine if those marriages are valid. In cases in other states where licenses were issued before a stay was placed on a legal decision, those marriages have been upheld and recognized.