University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Burns v. Hickenlooper PB-CO-0006
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-01817-RM-KLM ( D. Colo. )
Additional Docket(s) 14-1283  [ 14-1283 ]
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On July 1, 2014, several same-sex couples living in Colorado filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against state and county officials. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, claimed that Colorado's same-sex marriage ban ... read more >
On July 1, 2014, several same-sex couples living in Colorado filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against state and county officials. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, claimed that Colorado's same-sex marriage ban violated their constitutional rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. They asked the court to declare the ban unconstitutional, to enjoin the defendants from enforcing it, and to order the defendants to issue marriage licenses to eligible same-sex applicants and to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

On July 11, 2014, Judge Robert E. Blackburn recused himself and the case was reassigned to Judge Raymond P. Moore. On July 23, 2014, Judge Moore granted the plaintiffs' preliminary injunction, which forbid the defendants from enforcing the same-sex marriage ban. However, the court stayed the injunction until August 25, 2014. Judge Moore also granted the defendants' motion to stay all other proceedings in the case until three days after the final mandate was issued in a similar case, Kitchen v. Herbert (PB-UT-0001 in this Clearinghouse).

On August 21, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit stayed Judge Moore's preliminary injunction pending the Colorado Attorney General's appeal of the order. On September 18, 2014, the Tenth Circuit abated the appeal pending further order of the court.

On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied petitions for writ of certiorari in two cases, Herbert and Smith v. Bishop (PB-OK-0001 in this Clearinghouse), in which the Tenth Circuit 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, on October 7, 2014, the Tenth Circuit dismissed the appeal in this case, granting the Colorado Attorney General's motion.

Ten days later, on October 17, the District Court (Judge Raymond P. Moore) permanently enjoined the defendants from enforcing Colorado's same-sex marriage ban, ordered the court clerk to enter judgement for the plaintiffs, and awarded the plaintiffs attorneys' fees and costs, granting the defendants' unopposed motion. Eventually the parties settled and Judge Moore dismissed the case on January 28, 2015.

Megan Dolan - 07/24/2014
David Hamstra - 04/15/2015

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Colorado
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are made up of same-sex, unmarried couples who have been denied the right to marry in the State of Colorado; same-sex married couples whose out-of-state marriages are relegated to civil union status by Colorado; and same-sex couples whose relationships are recognized as civil unions but wish to have the status of 'married' in Colorado.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Filed 07/01/2014
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-UT-0001 : Kitchen v. Herbert (D. Utah)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
1:14-cv-01817-RM-KLM (D. Colo.)
PB-CO-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PB-CO-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Temporarily Staying Preliminary Injunction] [ECF# 45] (2014 WL 3634834) (D. Colo.)
PB-CO-0006-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/23/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Making Preliminary Injunction Permanent] [ECF# 63] (2014 WL 5312541) (D. Colo.)
PB-CO-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/17/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Moore, Raymond Paul (D. Colo.) show/hide docs
PB-CO-0006-0001 | PB-CO-0006-0003 | PB-CO-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Jankord, Darren M. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PB-CO-0006-0002 | PB-CO-0006-9000
Jefferis, Danielle C. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PB-CO-0006-0002 | PB-CO-0006-9000
Lane, David A. (Colorado) show/hide docs
PB-CO-0006-0002 | PB-CO-0006-9000
Newman, Mari Anne (Colorado) show/hide docs
PB-CO-0006-0002 | PB-CO-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Figa, Benjamin Todd (Colorado) show/hide docs
Finlaw, Jack D. Jr. (Colorado) show/hide docs
Francisco, Michael Lee (Colorado) show/hide docs
Lee, Evan (Colorado) show/hide docs
Mott, Writer (Colorado) show/hide docs
Shea, Wendy Jean (Colorado) show/hide docs
Spalding, Kathleen L. (Colorado) show/hide docs
Starnella, Kathryn Anne Teresa (Colorado) show/hide docs
Wakeman, Ellen G. (Colorado) show/hide docs
Wunderlich, David Ryan (Colorado) show/hide docs

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