Colorado Judge Takes Steps to Legalize Gay Marriage, Striking Down Voters-Approved Ban

( [email protected] ) Jul 25, 2014 10:08 AM EDT
Colorado's Controversial Ruling
A protester stands outside Colorado's courthouse (Reuters)

A federal judge in Denver recently struck a blow to Colorado's voter-approved gay marriage ban, calling it unconstitutional but issuing a temporary stay to give the state a chance to appeal.

Judge Raymond P. Moore's ruling Wednesday was in response to a lawsuit filed July 1 by six homosexual couples who asked the court for an injunction ordering that the state's ban no longer be enforced, ABC News reports.

However, Moore put his ruling temporarily on hold, giving Colorado Republican Attorney General John Suthers until Aug. 25 to seek a stay from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, or from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Shortly after the ruling, Suthers filed a notice of appeal to the 10th Circuit, saying he's confident the appeals court will continue the stay to let the U.S. Supreme Court be the final authority on the question of gay-marriage bans.

"It appears very likely that, either judicially or politically, Colorado is going to have same-sex marriage," Suthers told the Associated Press.

The couples filed the lawsuit after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled against Utah's gay marriage ban. That ruling is also on hold and could be the case the U.S. Supreme Court considers.

While Colorado's gay marriage ban is still in effect, state officials are sympathetic to homosexuals; clerks in Boulder, Denver, and Pueblo counties have issued marriage licenses to gay couples after several favorable court rulings.

In June, Colorado's Civil Rights Commission determined that a Christian baker Jack Phillips violated the law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds. Phillips was consequently ordered to change his policies and guarantee that his staff be given comprehensive training on Colorado's anti-discrimination laws. For the next two years, the baker will also be required to submit quarterly reports to the commission to confirm that he has not turned away customers based on their sexual orientation.

In response, Phillips had a simple answer for Colorado lawmakers: ""My God is bigger than any bullies they've got," he said. "I don't worry about it. I honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be true to what He wants me to do."

Same-sex marriage now is legal in 19 U.S. states, including several socially conservative ones. According to recent polls, a majority of Americans support gay marriage.