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Updated: Marriage Equality Arrives in Colorado

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2014 | Family Law, LGBTQ Legal Issues |


The Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari on marriage equality appeals from several federal appellate courts, including the Tenth Circuit. Those cases involved decisions from Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin.  Thus, in those states, the previous rulings striking down their marriage bans as unconstitutional are now considered final. Conceivably, this also means that each state under the purview of those federal appellate courts will have marriage equality soon.

So, what does this mean for Colorado, one of the states within the jurisdiction of the Tenth Circuit?  There was a lot of speculation this morning on how Colorado’s Attorney General, John Suthers, who relentlessly fought to preserve Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban, would react.  However, with the following statement, his office has announced it would not fight this further:

We have consistently maintained that we will abide by the Supreme Court’s determinationon the constitutionality of marriage laws. By choosing not to take up the matter, the courthas left the 10th Circuit ruling in place. We expect the 10th Circuit will issue a final ordergoverning Colorado very shortly. Once the formalities are resolved, clerks across the statemust begin issuing marriage licenses to all same-sex couples.We will file motions to expedite the lifting of the stays in the federal and state courts andwill advise the clerks when to issue licenses.  The parties will be filing the appropriate documents with the courts and Colorado will have marriage equality.

Colorado will have marriage equality very soon. There is currently ongoing litigation in other federal appellate courts on this matter. The Sixth and Ninth Circuits have already heard oral arguments regarding challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee (Sixth Circuit) and Idaho and Nevada (Ninth Circuit).  The Ninth Circuit is expected to rule that such bans are unconstitutional.  However, many expect that the Sixth Circuit may be the first circuit court to uphold same-sex marriage bans. If that occurs, it would create a split between the circuit courts and increase the likelihood that the Supreme Court may grant certiorari on an appeal from that decision.  Additionally, there is also an appeal regarding same-sex marriage bans in the Fifth Circuit. However, oral arguments will not be heard in that appeal until later this year.