Judge strikes down Colorado gay marriage ban, attorney general to appeal

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Photo: Gay marriage Adams CountyColorado Attorney General John Suthers plans to appeal a district court judge's ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban on Wednesday.

District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree ruled the 2006 voter-approved ban violates the state and federal constitutions. He immediately put his ruling on hold pending an appeal. If an appeal is filed, the case would be elevated to the state Court of Appeals and possibly beyond.

“The final chapter of this debate will undoubtedly have to be written in either Denver, Colorado or Washington, D.C.,” Crabtree wrote in his order Wednesday.

Crabtree is the 16th judge to void a state's gay marriage ban since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal government has to recognize gay marriages in the states.

The attorney general has also indicated he may ask the state Supreme Court to postpone the case while the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the question. Tom Russell, an attorney for the plaintiffs, rejects that idea.

“We don’t need the federal courts to resolve this,” Russell says. “We’re no longer a territory. We have perfectly good state courts that can resolve this issue once and for all.”

Gay rights advocates are also urging the state Supreme Court to settle the issue as soon as possible.

Law professor Kris Miccio and her partner are among the nine couples who sued to overturn Colorado’s law. News of the ruling reached her during a trip to Ireland.

“I only wish it wasn’t so late here in Dublin,” Miccio says. “I would have gone out to the pub and had a few Guinnesses to celebrate.”