Court orders Denver to stop issuing gay marriage licenses

Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:20pm EDT
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By Daniel Wallis and Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado's Supreme Court ordered the Denver County clerk on Friday to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending the resolution of an appeal by the state's attorney general.

The court ruling did not cover clerks in two other counties, Boulder and Pueblo, who have also been giving the permits to gay couples who they say have waited long enough.

Denver County Clerk Debra Johnson began handing out licenses to gay couples on July 10, hours after a state judge backed the clerk in Boulder, Hillary Hall, who has issued more than 150 of them since late June.

"Disappointed, but respect ruling," Johnson said on Twitter.

Earlier on Friday, she said she congratulated two men who had become Denver's 100th same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license.

Hall began giving out permits after a U.S. federal appeals court ruling on June 25 that found in favor of gay marriage in conservative neighboring Utah.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said Hall was willfully misinterpreting the ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was stayed pending appeal.

But a lawsuit filed by Suthers to stop her was rejected by a state judge last week who found in favor of Hall, and within hours the county clerks in Denver and Pueblo said their offices would also begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.   Continued...

Two men, both wearing signs that read "he's the groom", hold hands shortly after midnight after getting a civil union when Colorado's civil union law went into effect in Denver May 1, 2013.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking