Colorado Clerks May Marry Same-Sex Couples Despite State Ban

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In a victory — albeit a confusing one — for same-sex marriage advocates in Colorado, a judge determined that a county clerk in the state could continue to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though the state's ban on same-sex marriage is still in effect. That, Boulder District Court Judge Andrew Hartman wrote, is partially because the law is "hanging on by a thread" in state and federal courts. 

According to the Associated Press, two clerks in Denver and in Boulder are now marrying same-sex couples. Denver County's Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson, who is openly gay, told the Denver Post it was "gratifying," to be able to issue the licenses, adding, "I'm so excited. I was just talking with someone on the phone, and I said, 'I didn't think it would ever happen in my lifetime.'" Denver's mayor Michael Hancock said he'd back any decision Johnson made on going forward with the licenses. 

Hartman's decision concerned Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall, who have issued more than 100 licenses to same-sex couples since a 10th Circuit Court ruling against Utah's ban, the AP reported. Addressing Hall's decision to defy state law (the 10th Circuit placed a stay on their decision) Hartman wrote that "there is no tangible harm to the people of Colorado caused by Clerk Hall's disobedience of state law and orders by the State." Previously, Hall had promised to stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples only if a court ordered her to. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.