Showdown Over Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Continues In Colorado

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Colorado Attorney General John Suthers demanded that the Boulder County Clerk stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples by noon on Tuesday, but the clerk has asked for more time to respond to the request.

This likely sets up a scenario whereby gay couples will rush to get married before the new deadline.

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall unilaterally started issuing same-sex marriage licenses last week in response to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that a constitutional ban on such marriages in Utah is unconstitutional.

The 10th Circuit has jurisdiction in Colorado, and Hall said that based on legal guidance from the county attorney, she believes the ruling also invalidates Colorado’s own constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Suthers clearly differs, and in a strongly worded letter, he told Hall to knock it off.

“As things stand currently, nobody can be happy,” Suthers wrote. “You, alone, are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and many of these couples have declared that they believe their licenses to be legal and valid. Yet the state’s constitutional and statutory prohibitions on such licenses remain in effect and on the books.”

Therefore, they “cannot be recognized and are invalid and of no legal effect,” he wrote.

He did, however, offer to file a joint petition to the Colorado Supreme Court asking for an expedited review of Hall’s legal authority to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. But first, she has to stop issuing them.

In a response on Monday, Hall wrote that she didn’t receive the letter in time to meet with county attorneys and draft a response. She requested seven business days to reply to Suthers’ offer, which, considering upcoming legal holidays, would be July 10 (county offices are closed on July 4 and July 7).

Suthers’ letter didn’t specify any consequences should Hall ignore his request but said that if she complies, “it will obviate the need for us to take any further action regarding your issuance of licenses.”

While this back and forth plays out, a staff member in Hall’s office confirms to The Daily Caller News Foundation that gay couples can still receive marriage licenses in Boulder County.

Whether they will ultimately be considered valid or not remains to be seen.

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