Two lawsuits were filed by same-sex Colorado couples in early 2014, in Denver and Adams County. Some of the couples wished to marry; others sought to have Colorado recognize their lawful out-of-state marriages. The parties were represented by private counsel. The lawsuits were consolidated and heard in Adams County District Court before Judge C. Scott Crabtree.
The plaintiffs claimed that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage violated their rights under the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses. They sought a court declaration that the state's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages, and a permanent injunction preventing defendants from denying the unmarried plaintiffs the right to marry.
On July 9, 2014, Judge Crabtree granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs. The order immediately stayed the decision pending resolution of the issue on appeal. Despite the stay, several Colorado counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The case was combined with Brinkman v. Long (PB-CO-0005
in this Clearinghouse) and appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court. On July 18, 2014, the Court ordered that Colorado clerks were stayed from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending resolution of the appeal.
On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied petitions for writ of certiorari in two cases, Herbert v. Kitchen (PB-UT-0001
in this Clearinghouse) and Smith v. Bishop (PB-OK-0001
in this Clearinghouse), in which the Tenth Circuit had held that Utah and Oklahoma's same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional. Herbert v. Kitchen, 135 S. Ct. 271 (2014); Smith v. Bishop, 135 S. Ct. 271 (2014). By declining to hear those cases, the Supreme Court let the lower court decisions stand: same-sex marriage was effectively legalized in those states. In response, the Colorado Supreme Court vacated the stay on the state district court order, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Colorado, and dismissed the case.Margo Schlanger - 02/20/2014
Megan Dolan - 09/26/2014
David Hamstra - 04/15/2015