A federal judge ruled Wednesday against Colorado's marriage defense amendment, leading the state attorney general to say the case will ultimately be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  

The ruling comes after another district court judge struck down the amendment on July 10, saying that preserving marriage "bears no rational relationship to any conceivable government interest." The state's bishops rebuked the decision that day and called on Catholics in Colorado to defend marriage.

The bishops said the decision "advances a misinterpretation of the institution of marriage in modern society, reducing marriage to a sheer emotional arrangement that can simply be redefined to accommodate the impulses of culture."

"Marriage and the family are cornerstones of every culture. Marriage has long been recognized as the lifelong relationship between one man and one woman that allows for the procreation of children; this is consistent with human biology and the natural law," they said.

The state bishops recognized the need to "treat our homosexual sisters and brothers with dignity and love," but explained that the faithful also "have a duty to protect and preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman in our laws and policies," because "redefining marriage will only further erode the family structure of our society."

"Upholding the truth about marriage advances the dignity of all people, and it promotes a culture that acknowledges, values and respects the unique and complementary gifts of both a mother and a father in the lives of children."

Passed by Colorado voters in 2006, the state marriage amendment said that "only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state."

On June 23, District Judge Raymond Moore ruled against the amendment, but immediately stayed his decision so Attorney General John Suthers, defending the amendment, could file an appeal with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which he promptly did.

The 10th Circuit Court has already struck down Utah's voter-approved marriage amendment, and the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to hear that appeal. Suthers indicated that rather than additional appellate litigation, the Colorado case will also be decided by the Supreme Court.

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila had warned in March 2013 that marriage was on its way to being redefined in Colorado with the legalization of same-sex civil unions. He called it "the beginning of an effort to redefine the family in Colorado and to undermine the right of all children to have a mother and a father."

Although the decisions striking down the marriage amendment have been placed on hold, marriage licenses have already been distributed to same-sex couples in the state by the clerks in Boulder, Denver, and Pueblo County.

The state's Supreme Court recently ordered Denver County to stop issuing the licenses, and the Pueblo clerk office subsequently chose to stop issuing licenses. Boulder County is continuing to issue the licenses after a district court ruled in their favor.