John Suthers only obstacle to marriage equality in Colorado, says attorney after ban-case win

Attorney Mari Newman as seen in a CBS4 image. More photos and an original document below.
What began as a trickle is now a flood. Mere weeks after an Adams County judge ruled Colorado's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore issued a similar finding. However, Moore stayed his order (on view below) until 8 a.m. on August 25 and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is expected to seek an injunction to maintain the status quo until the U.S. Supreme Court can weigh in.

That frustrates Mari Newman, who represents plaintiffs in the latest case. In her view, "the only thing standing in the way of marriage equality for all Coloradans is Attorney General John Suthers."

See also: Same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional: DU prof on ruling and why attorney general is wrong

Last month, as we've reported, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in a Utah case that same sex couples have a right to marry under the Constitution. That order was stayed, too, but because the ruling covers Colorado, Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall began issuing same-sex marriage licenses right away.

John Suthers.
Suthers's office objected to Hall's move -- but earlier this month, a judge in Boulder gave Hall permission to continue. The AG responded yesterday by filing what a spokesperson described in a news release as "a motion asking the Colorado Court of Appeals to issue an order requiring the Boulder County Clerk to enforce the state's marriage laws while the Colorado Supreme Court considers the laws' constitutionality.

"The requested order is effectively identical to the order granted by the Colorado Supreme Court regarding Denver and Adams Counties last week," the announcement continues. "Under the courts' rules, the request had to be made first to the trial court in Boulder. Now that that court has declined to follow the Colorado Supreme Court, the request is before the Colorado Court of Appeals."

Meanwhile, Judge Moore weighed in on the complaint from six same-sex couples represented by Newman. In his view, simply waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to offer its views about the Utah case wasn't an option. Here's an excerpt from his order:

Judge Raymond P. Moore.
Based on the most recent stay, it appears to the Court that it may well be that a message is being sent by the Supreme Court. But this Court is not some modern day haruspex skilled in the art of divination. This Court cannot -- and, more importantly, it will not -- tell the people of Colorado that the access to this or any other fundamental right will be delayed because it "thinks" or "perceives" the subtle -- or not so subtle -- content of a message not directed to this case. The rule of law demands more.
Nonetheless, Moore put a stay in place for the next month -- and Suthers cheered the decision. His statement reads: "We are gratified Judge Moore agreed with us that additional litigation in that court would be wasteful given that our laws' status will be decided by the Supreme Court's decision in the Utah's case. We expect the court of appeals to continue the stay, as it and the supreme courts of the U.S. and Colorado have in similar cases."

Newman is far less enthusiastic. In a post-victory release, she argues that it's time for Suthers "to back down from this losing battle and allow Colorado to treat all of its families with equality and dignity."
Newman and her team with the plaintiffs in the case.
Via e-mail, we asked Newman some followup questions. Here's that exchange:

Westword: Colorado's voters approved a same-sex marriage ban in 2006. Why shouldn't Suthers be seen as simply acting to support the will of voters?

Mari Newman: Amendment 43 passed in 2006 by a VERY narrow majority, just 56 percent of the voters. Times have changed. Now, a significantly larger majority of Coloradans support marriage equality. BUT, even if that were not true, our society cannot tolerate tyranny of the majority against oppressed groups. We are better than that.

WW: If Suthers declined to appeal, what would the impact be on the same-sex marriage issue not just here in Colorado but nationwide?

MN: If Suthers chooses not to appeal, then the injunction would take effect 8/25 allowing marriage equality to take hold in Colorado. Suthers would be following the lead of state officials in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Oregon, who allowed court rulings striking down gay-marriage bans to stand.

WW: At this point, with so many courts striking down same-sex marriage bans, do you see Suthers's appeals as more about politics than the law?

MN:Absolutely. EVERY single court that has looked at this issue since the Supreme Court ruled last summer in Windsor (United States v. Windsor, which gutted the Defense of Marriage Act) has found in favor of marriage equality. Suthers's continuing fight is a mean-spirited political attack on same-sex families, all at the expense of Colorado taxpayers and real Colorado families.

Read Judge Moore's order here.

Judge Raymond Moore Same Sex Marriage Order

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

John Suthers only obstacle to marriage equality in Colorado, says attorney after ban-case win

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Although I do not like Suthers or his politics, he is correct in enforcing the laws of Colorado and defending a Constitutional Amendment the Voters passed.

Clearly the only answer is taking this to the US Supreme Court where the gay marriage ban would easily be overturned.

However, no matter the issue, I would expect the State Attorney General to uphold the Laws of Colorado

Kyle Gregory
Kyle Gregory

Frank it has not been over ruled in Colorado yet.. Until such time he is doing his job .. And if it were the will of the people why hasn't it been put back on the ballot to be repealed???

muhutdafuga topcommenter

Another nanny state conservative.


Cindy Coffman, deputy AG to John Suthers, is the one working behind the scenes in the effort to keep the ban in effect.  A known Republikkkan, Coffman apparently has a temporary lack of cases in prosecuting and incarcerating the poor, mentally-ill, and minority population of Denver to take a stance on having MORE government involvement in the bedroom while simultaneously running on a platform of LESS government on every other issue.  

Mark J Pastika
Mark J Pastika

Fuck you Frankie. You homosexuals are fucking assholes... Literally.

Frank Hickenlooperwooper Sturgell
Frank Hickenlooperwooper Sturgell

Umm, Your brain dead oppression of others has been ruled unConstitutional by every court including the Supremes. You're a moron Mark. Is that pesky Constitution getting in the way of your mindlessness?

Mark J Pastika
Mark J Pastika

I did not say "will of the people". Furthermore, marriage is not a liberty or a right. That pesky Constitution keeps getting in your way.

Virgil Dunn
Virgil Dunn

Too bad for you the "will of the people" today isn't the same as it may have been nearly two decades ago when this law was implemented. Of course, I am of the position that basic civil liberties/rights should NEVER be put up for popular referendum.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

If you stoners want to know what a Repuglican Governor to replace Chickenpooper would look and act like -- John Suthers is your political model.

Bill Ogle
Bill Ogle

I'm for marriage equality but CO did vote it down. Suthers is doing his job by taking it all the way to the top. Now those that lost want to fight it. Why vote for anything if the losers get butthurt and want to do it again?

muhutdafuga topcommenter

Kind of like slavery was.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault