A federal court’s ruling against Utah’s marriage amendment has triggered a controversy in Colorado, where the Boulder County Clerk’s office has begun to give invalid marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“Colorado’s constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriages remains in effect,” Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said June 25. “Any marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Colorado before a final court resolution of the issue are invalid.”
Although the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Utah’s state amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, Suthers noted that this decision had been stayed and consequently was not in effect in Utah.
If the decision is ultimately upheld, it could impose “gay marriage” on Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming, as well as Utah.
The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall rejected the attorney general’s statement, telling the Denver Post, “That's their opinion. We disagree with it.”
“We will be here issuing marriage licenses until a Colorado court or the Supreme Court tells us to desist,” she said.
Hall’s office had prepared to give licenses to up to 150 same-sex couples.
The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s office previously attempted to issue “gay marriage” licenses in 1975.
Suthers’ statement cited then-Attorney General J.D. MacFarlane, who said “the issuance of a license under such circumstances is useless and an official act of no validity and may mislead the recipients of the license and the general public.”
Both Colorado and Utah have state amendments that recognize marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Their laws do not bar private homosexual ceremonies.
Utah’s amendment additionally bars the legal recognition of other same-sex unions that are identical or substantially equivalent to marriage. The Colorado legislature has created civil unions for same-sex and heterosexual couples.