Judge strikes down Colo. gay marriage ban, stays ruling

Photo: Gay marriage in Denver
Fran Simon, left, and Anna Simon, right, kiss at their wedding at the Denver County clerk's office the first day the licenses were offered to gay couples in July 2014. Their son Jeremy is standing in front of them.

A federal judge has declared Colorado’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, but is delaying the effect of that decision for now.

Judge Raymond Moore on Wednesday struck down Colorado’s law based on recent Appeals Court rulings that invalidate similar bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

Gay marriage advocates are hailing the ruling as a victory.

"We think the ruling is fantastic," Wendy Howell, of the group Why Marriage Matters, says. "We think it’s another step forward for marriage equality in here Colorado, and for same-sex couples’ ability to be treated just like every other couple in the state."

But Moore temporarily stayed his decision. He’s giving the state a month to try to get a longer stay from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Attorney General John Suthers filed that request Wednesday.

The attorney general’s office has said it is doesn’t make sense to keep fighting over Colorado’s law in court, given that the issue of gay marriage is likely to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court soon. But Suthers wants the ban to stay in effect until there’s a final ruling.

Lawyer Mari Newman, who represents gay couples in the lawsuit, said they’ll fight any attempt to extend the stay.

"The only thing that’s now standing in the way of marriage equality in Colorado is our Attorney General John Suthers. It’s time for him to stop this frivolous fight," Newman says.

Colorado’s gay marriage law was also invalidated by a state court earlier this month. That ruling is being appealed to the state Supreme Court.