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A Same Sex-Marriage Plaintiff's Open Letter to Attorney General John Suthers

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More photos below.
Editor's note: Kris McDaniel-Miccio is a University of Denver law professor and plaintiff in a lawsuit that sought to overturn Colorado's same-sex marriage ban. In July, Adams County Judge C. Scott Crabtree concluded that the ban is unconstitutional but stayed his ruling against the law, which Colorado State Attorney General John Suthers continues to defend.

McDaniel-Miccio challenges Suthers on this issue in an open letter. Read it below.

See also: Kris McDaniel-Miccio on Why She's Suing to End Colorado's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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Attorney General John Suthers.
Dear Attorney General Suthers:

I am one of the plaintiffs in the case against the State of Colorado. I am also a professor of law at DU and an ordained Rabbi...and a spouse. I bring this to your attention so that you know that while I am a lesbian, I am much more than that. I have watched the rather frenetic filings undertaken by your office to stop recognition of my marriage and also to enforce Colorado's mini-DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act], which bars loving lesbian and gay couples from marrying.

Why?

You claim that you don't believe in the underlying premise of the Constitutional bar. You claim that marriage between two consenting adults should be permissible regardless of gender. You also claim, after your first defeat in the courts, that you actually know that Colorado's discriminatory amendment will inevitably fall. Yet you continue to defend the indefensible.

Why?

You have claimed that it is your duty to protect the laws of this State -- a rather admirable position and one that might be at once genuine and sincere. But I do question whether you assume this duty.

Let me explain.

Article 12§8 of the Colorado Constitution states, "Every civil officer...shall, before he enters upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and of the State of Colorado...." Let's deconstruct this provision in the Colorado Constitution. First, as the AG you are a civil officer. Check. Second, unless you believe as Justice Scalia does that "shall" means "maybe," there is no discretion; as a civil officer you must swear an oath or make an affirmation. Check. Third, that oath or affirmation requires that you "support the Constitution of the United States." And herein lies the problem.

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Kris McDaniel-Miccio.
After the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the State of Utah and Oklahoma's constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages and recognition of legal same-sex marriages in sister states, you stated that our constitutional amendment would likely fail as well. Now, why did you think that? Would the Colorado Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court craft a ruling based on solicitous feelings toward the LGBT community? Not quite. Could it be because myriad federal Courts (e.g Tenth, Fourth etc.) and state Supreme Courts have found that such laws violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the American Constitution? BINGO!

Not only are you not defending Colorado's laws (Article 12§8 is part of the Colorado Constitution). Rather, by constructing roadblocks to issuance and recognition of same-sex marriage in the State of Colorado, you are violating your Oath of Office and the Colorado Constitution. And to make matters worse, the papers filed in our case and the Amicus Briefs that your office has signed onto raise the most specious arguments: that marriage is about protecting and encouraging procreation.

I trust you are aware of the federal decisions concerning marriage? The U.S. Supreme Court did not tie marriage to procreation in the Loving case (interracial marriage) or in cases involving inmates or deadbeat dads. They declared that marriage was a fundamental right because it is a vital to being human. I would also assume that when you tied the knot, as I did, you didn't promise to "love, honor and procreate." Thus to use the "marriage/ procreation" standard is not only culturally absurd but legally specious.

So...why are you taking this rather meaningless position? Perhaps politics takes precedence over law? Perhaps your desire to score points with some folks in Colorado Springs is more important than defending therights of all Coloradans? Winning the mayoral election in the Springs trumps protection of Constitutional rights?

Perhaps.

One last thought...it is time for you to leave state office because it appears you will not or can not uphold your oath of office.

Sincerely,

Kris McDaniel-Miccio

Professor of Law
Sturm College of Law
University of Denver

Rabbi,
JSLI, Rabbinic School
NYC


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16 comments
RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

So, are you all going to organize against Suthers' protege, Cynthia Coffman, now running for Attorney General?  You'd better get started; The Republican Attorneys General Association bought $2.6 million worth of television advertising on her behalf a week ago.

David Kelly
David Kelly

No one in a church or government has a right to decide who anyone can marry...as for the God told me this argument... That is total utter carp period... He made everyone in his image including all the GLBT people as well.. My God loves everyone period...

Jay Cismaru
Jay Cismaru

He's just doing his job and doing what the voters voted for

Kyle Gregory
Kyle Gregory

Chris the people of Colorado voted a just law a few years ago .. So what makes you the czar of just laws???

John Mccall
John Mccall

He will fight it forever, doesn't believe in same sex marriages. Just hiding behind the law right now!

Dave Duncomb
Dave Duncomb

He is enforcing what the people of Colorado voted for. Want to make it legal, send it back to the voters. Isn't that what this country was founded on?

Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis

Religion, it's the root of all discrimination.

Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis

An unjust law is a crime itself, the federal courts deem it unconstitutional.

Robbie Ratay
Robbie Ratay

Umm cuz it's against the law right now.. duh

John Wolfe
John Wolfe

Me thinks he doth protest too much...

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

"He [the God of Christians] made everyone in his image including all the GLBT people."


So the God in Christianity is technically straight, gay, bisexual, male, female, hermaphrodite, transgendered, etc all at once?  ...interesting

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

"He's just doing his job and doing what the voters voted for" ...true, but Suthers can decide where to focus his efforts unless he is bored out of his mind and has nothing else to occupy his time.  Only a stubborn jackass keeps fighting a battle he knows he is going to lose.

kmiccio1
kmiccio1

@KyleGregory...No I am not a Czar.  Just an ordinary American like you who deserves, as you do, all of the rights and protections that the Constitution affords.  One of those rights is the fundamental right to marry.  I am denied this because a group of folks decided to pass a law denying what the federal Constitution gives.  Let me ask you...the right to marry, to vote, to travel are all fundamental rights...there are more ...but let's just deal with those.  What if I and a group of people initiated a referendum on folks like you (straight folks) denying you the right to marry, or vote, or travel?  Should your rights be determined by my prejudice?  Should your rights be put up to a "show of Hands?"  I would think not.  Even though some folks did pass the amendment in 2006, it is the duty of the Courts (state and federal) to determine if that law interfered with a group of folks fundamental, (basic) rights. If it did it is unconstitutional.  And over 20 Courts have so found.  Not one has found such laws constitutional.  BTW, if you were referring to me...the name is Kris, not Chris...see the piece you just commented on.

kmiccio1
kmiccio1

Marriage is a fundamental right.  so is the right to vote, or travel.  if people in State X decided to restrict the right to vote and allow only Christians..should the courts allow one group the right to deny another group the right to vote?  Should fundamental rights be determined by a show of hands?

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

Intolerance is the root of animosity.  If Jesus Christ spent his life preaching tolerance and acceptance then why are so many of his self proclaimed Christian followers so intolerant of others?



in·tol·er·anceinˈtälərəns/noun
  1. unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own.

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