July 23, 2014 at 11:55 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Court blocks enforcement of Colorado marriage ban

gavel, gay news, Washington Blade, justice

A federal court has struck down Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage in Monroe County (Photo by Bigstock).

A federal court in Colorado has issued a preliminary injunction on the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, making for the latest in series of blows against the Centennial State’s prohibition on legal recognition of gay nuptials.

In a 12-page decision in the case of Burns v. Hickenlooper, U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore issued the injunction on the basis that the legal challenge will likely succeed given the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decisions affirming Utah and Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.

“The Court agrees with the analysis in Kitchen and Bishop that marriage is a fundamental right and that the Challenged Laws impermissibly infringe upon that right,” Moore writes. “The Court therefore concludes that Plaintiffs will likely succeed in establishing that Colorado’s ban impermissibly violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. Accordingly, this factor favors granting an injunction.”

The court also refuses a request from the state to halt future proceedings in the case until the litigation against Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is resolved.

But same-sex couples won’t be able to wed immediately in Colorado. The injunction is stayed until 8:00 a.m. on August 25 to allow the state time to seek relief from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has already filed a notice of appeal indicating that he intends to take up the injunction with the Tenth Circuit.

The litigation was one a few cases making their way through the courts related to Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage. A state court in Colorado already struck down the state’s marriage ban in the case of Brinkman v. Long earlier this month, but that ruling was stayed pending appeal.

And after Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hill began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision against Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers attempt without success to persuade the court to issue a restraining order to stop the weddings. According to the Denver Post, Boulder has issued 156 marriage licenses to same-sex couples as of July 18.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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