Report: County clerk in Colorado issues same-sex marriage licenses, state’s AG says they are invalid

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jun 25, 2014

BOULDER, Colo.  — The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office reportedly began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Wednesday, and a short time later Colorado’s Attorney General issued a statement indicating the licenses issued were not valid.

FOX 13 News sister station FOX 31 Denver reportsthat clerk and recorder Hillary Hall stated licenses would be available in Boulder Wednesday and that on Friday they would be available in the Lafayette and Longmont offices as well. FOX 31 reports that at least two marriage licenses were issued by the office Wednesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that Utah’s Amendment Three, which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman, is a violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Constitution. The court granted a stay pending an appeal by Utah to the U.S. Supreme Court, which means same-sex marriages have not resumed in Utah.

FOX 31 reports the statement from the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s office offered the following explanation: “Because 10th Circuit decisions are binding in the State of Colorado, the precedent established by Kitchen v. Herbert is applicable to the same-sex marriage ban contained in the Colorado Constitution.”

“Couples across Colorado have been waiting a long time to have their right to marry the person they love recognized,” said Hall in a statement. “I want to act immediately to let them carry out that wish.”

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers issued a statement a short time later, which reads as follows:

“Colorado’s constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriages remains in effect. Today’s decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals was stayed by the Court and has not gone into effect even in Utah, let alone in Colorado. Any marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Colorado before a final court resolution of the issue are invalid.

As Colorado Attorney General J.D. MacFarlane opined in 1975 when the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder issued same-sex marriage licenses, ‘the issuance of a license under such circumstances is useless and an official act of no validity and may mislead the recipients of the license and the general public.’”

Click here for more on this story from FOX 31 in Denver.

A tweet from user @alex_burness reportedly shows the first same-sex couple to be married in Boulder Wednesday.