The Denver Post reports, Adams judge tosses Colorado gay marriage ban but stays ruling:
The ruling makes Colorado the latest in a string of states that have seen their bans on same-sex marriages tossed out by state and federal judges.
The ruling came as another judge in Boulder County considered a request by Attorney General John Suthers to stop a county clerk from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.* Last week, attorneys filed a federal lawsuit seeking to challenge Colorado’s gay marriage ban.
Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree issued his 49-page ruling (.pdf) Wednesday afternoon, saying he “heartily endorses” a recent ruling by a Denver-based federal appeals court in a similar case.
“The Court holds that the Marriage Bans violate plaintiffs’ due process and equal protection guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” Crabtree said in his ruling.
“The existence of civil unions is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples and does not ameliorate the discriminatory effect of the Marriage Bans.”
Crabtree also said: “If civil unions were truly the same as marriages, they would be called marriages and not civil unions. If they were the same, there would be no need for both of them.”
The judge acknowledged that his court would not offer the final word on the subject. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently tossed out Utah’s similar ban on gay marriage.
“The final chapter of this debate will undoubtedly have to be written either in Denver, Colorado or Washington, D.C.,” the judge wrote. “While the striking down of laws banning same-sex marriages has been progressing at a rapid rate, it will take time for this issue to be finally resolved.”
* UPDATE: A Boulder, CO, judge has ruled that the county clerk can continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The ruling is here. – Denver’s County Clerk is also beginning to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (h/t Equality on Trial).
In other news today, the state of Utah will not seek an en banc hearing of Kitchen v. Herbert before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, but will file an appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Utah appealing gay-marriage case directly to Supreme Court.
In the state of Pennsylvania, where a state court judge struck down that state’s same-sex marriage ban a few weeks ago and the state abandoned any appeal, a local county clerk continued to fight refusing to issue marriage licenses. That county clerk has now lost all avenues of appeal. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied PA clerk’s motion to intervene in same-sex marriage case last week, and today, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Alito declines to halt same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.
UPDATE: The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals expedites Indiana same-sex marriage appeal: Briefing will be completed by August 5. The Wisconsin same-sex marriage case heads to Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals: State officials in Wisconsin have filed a notice of appeal in Wolf v. Walker, the federal challenge to the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Since a stay is in effect, same-sex couples in Wisconsin are unable to marry.
UPDATE: In a motion filed by the plaintiffs challenging Wisconsin’s ban, they asked the Seventh Circuit to fast-track their appeal, and to have it heard by the same panel hearing the challenge to Indiana’s ban.
In an order, the Seventh Circuit granted the request. They set the briefing schedule: “Appellant’s brief due on or before 07/23/2014. Appellee’s brief due on or before 08/04/2014 .” The text entry also noted that “argument will be set by separate court order.”
State officials in Indiana are requesting that all Seventh Circuit judges hear their appeal. The Seventh Circuit’s rules note that petitions for en banc are generally disfavored, so it may not be granted; however, if it were, it’s possible that both the Indiana and Wisconsin cases would be heard initially en banc.
h/t Equality on Trial