New federal lawsuit challenges marriage ban in Colorado following 10th Circuit ruling


Photo by David Young (@DaveYoungTV)

By Juliann DiNicola
Jul 01, 2014 at 01:00 pm

Today, six same-sex couples from across Colorado filed a federal lawsuit challenging Colorado’s ban on the freedom to marry. The plaintiffs, represented by a Denver lawfirm of Killmer, Lane and Newman, name Attorney General Suthers, Governor Hickenlooper and two county clerks as defendants in the lawsuit.

The case, Burns v. Hickenlooper, cites last week’s historic 10th Circuit Court decision that ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Utah as precedent—though the decision was stayed. Colorado is one of six states—including Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The 10th Circuit is also expected to soon issue a ruling on Oklahoma’s marriage ban.

The case quotes last week’s decision in favor of marriage from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit:

[T]he Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.

The plaintiffs are asking the state of Colorado to not only validate legal out of state marriages of same-sex couples, but to also allow county clerks in Colorado to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A separate case was also heard last month, on June 12th, seeking the freedom to marry, and a judge is expected to issue a ruling regarding their decision soon.