Colorado attorney general tries to halt same-sex marriage licenses


Colorado Attorney General John Suthers asked a judge Thursday to order Boulder County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall began issuing same-sex marriage licenses last week after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The 10th Circuit includes Colorado, which does not allow same-sex marriage but does recognize civil unions.

The appeals court stayed its ruling, but Hall said the court had affirmed gay marriage and she thus began issuing the licenses. By Thursday she had issued nearly 100.

Suthers had told Hall to stop as of noon Tuesday, a deadline she ignored. She also rejected his proposed compromise to jointly ask the state Supreme Court to decide whether she had authority to issue the licenses.

“Regretfully, our office was forced to take action against Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall due to her refusal to follow state law,” Suthers said in a statement. “While we would prefer not to sue a government official, Ms. Hall’s actions are creating a legal limbo for both the state and the couples whose relationships she wants to champion. That limbo could have tangible and unintended consequences.”

Suthers contends that the marriage licenses are invalid as long as the appellate court’s stay is in place.

Hall’s office said it would issue a statement about the attorney general’s motion.

Boulder District Judge Andrew Hartman set a hearing for next Wednesday.

After Tuesday’s deadline passed, Hall said, “We believe the licenses are legal and just,” adding, “History will be on our side.”

Gay marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia.