Colorado court rules against gay marriage ban

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Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree has ruled against Colorado’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.

In Brinkman v. Long, attorneys sued Colorado on behalf of a same-sex couple who argue that state ban on marriage equality violates the state and U.S. constitutions.

“The Court holds that the Marriage Bans violate plaintiffs’ due process and equal protection guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution The existence of civil unions is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples and does not ameliorate the discriminatory effect of Marriage Bans,” wrote Crabtree, who issued a stay with his of July 9 decision.

At the Human Rights Campaign, legal director Sarah Warbelow said, “It is fitting that today, the 146th anniversary of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, that a Colorado court has struck down the state’s discriminatory marriage ban relying on the equal protection clause. These marriage bans will continue to fall because the Constitution does not allow for such blatant discrimination."

Same-sex couples can marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Gay couples have married in other states, where judges ruled against marriage bans.

Gallup puts support for marriage equality in the United States at 55 percent, some 15 points higher than in polls five years ago.

Polls also show support for marriage equality growing with every demographic group.

In June, after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Utah's anti-gay ban, the clerk in Boulder County, Colorado, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Also, Colorado's governor and attorney general have asked a court to rule that the marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit struck down a similar marriage ban out of Utah.  The Tenth Circuit decision is binding upon all states within its jurisdiction, including Colorado.

On July 10, after learning of the ruling from the Adams County District Court, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis said, “I am thrilled that Judge Crabtree has recognized that the Colorado ban on same sex marriage is a violation of due process and equal protection guarantees under the 14th Amendment.

Polis, who is gay, continued, "More than that, he has recognized, as many of his peers across the country have, that marriage should be an institution of love and commitment, not prohibition and discrimination. I look forward to his ruling being upheld by the higher courts, and am confident marriage equality in Colorado is within sight.”

There are more than 70 court cases challenging marriage bans across the country. Cases from 10 states are pending before six federal appeals courts.