Judge strikes down Colorado gay marriage ban, stays ruling
By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - A state judge struck down Colorado's gay marriage ban on Wednesday, saying the prohibition violated constitutional rights, but put his ruling on hold pending appeal.
It was the latest of several decisions by state and federal judges to strike down state bans on same-sex nuptials and then stay their rulings pending challenges to higher courts.
Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree said in his decision that Colorado's prohibition, approved by voters in 2006, conflicted with the fundamental right to marry.
"The Court rejects the State's attempt to too narrowly describe the marital right at issue to the right to marry a person of the same sex," Crabtree wrote.
There are 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is now legal. Several other same-sex marriage lawsuits are moving toward the U.S. Supreme Court.
Two other lawsuits, testing bans in Oklahoma and Virginia, have already been heard by appeals courts.
The attorney general of neighboring Utah said on Wednesday he would appeal directly to the Supreme Court a ruling by a federal appeals court last month that backed gay marriage in the conservative, largely Mormon state.
Responding to Crabtree's ruling, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said it reaffirmed the fact that the fate of the state's same-sex marriage law now rested with the Supreme Court. Continued...