State Judge Strikes Down Colorado’s Marriage Ban, Stays Ruling

Jim Burroway

July 9th, 2014

A state judge has declared Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree issued his ruling this afternoon, and accompanied that ruling with a stay pending appeal. He also declared Colorado’s civil unions law “further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples” and is not a constitutionally-acceptable substitute for marriage.

Judge Crabtree’s ruling (PDF: 156KB/49 pages) begins with a comprehensive 28-page summary of the various briefs and reply briefs before delving into addressing the questions before the court. Judge Crabtree found that “There is no question that the right to marry is a fundamental right.” He then went on to agree with the recent Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Utah case which struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage:

“The Court heartily endorses the recent holding by the Tenth Circuit in Kitchen v. Herbert that the marital right at issue was never framed as the “right to interracial marriage in Loving or the “prisoner’s right to marriage” in Turner or the “dead-beat dad’s” right to marriage in Zablocki. See Kitchen, 961 F.Supp.2d at 1200. Instead, the Supreme Court has repeatedly utilized the term “fundamental right to marry” without any limitations. 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. The Court also concurs with the growing number of courts which have held that the fundamental right to marry includes the right to remain married.

The Court also concurs with the growing number of courts which have held that the fundamental right to marry includes the right to remain married.

He then addressed whether the state had a compelling interest in banning same-sex marriage:

The avowed State interest can be distilled down to encouraging procreation and marital commitment for the benefit of the children. The problem with this post-hoc explanation is that it utterly ignores those who are permitted to marry without the ability or desire to procreate. It is merely a pretext for discriminating against same-sex marriages.

This recently fabricated “state interest” is also belied by legislative history which accompanied the enactment of the 2000 amendments to C.R.S. § 14-2- 104. On February 21, 2000, at the second reading on HB 1249, Rep. Mark Paschall stated, “What we’re opening the door here to, and even though the issue is being framed around same sex relationships, we’re talking about opening the door to polygamy, polyandry, and polyamorous relationships.” Later in the debate, Rep. Paschall stated that “[t]his is going to allow incestuous relationships. We don’t want to be allowing any kind of solemnized relationship in the State of Colorado, and that’s what this is going to do.” Rep. Doug Dean stated, “[b]ut where I think it’s important for me as a legislator to say that we don’t want to recognize same-sex unions, same-sex marriages, because we believe that it contributes to the decay of society … it will be harmful to our state.” Out of more than a dozen comments on the bill, only one comment was made about marriage providing a stable environment for children to be brought into the world and raised. But that same senator, John Andrews completed his comments noting that, “marriage, as an institution, thousands of years old, I would argue, is strengthened, when we maintain that traditional definition.”

Likewise, when Amendment 43 was being submitted to the voters, the Amendment 43 Blue Book told voters that one reason to pass Amendment 43 was to “preserv[e] the commonly accepted definition of marriage. Marriage as an institution has historically consisted of one man and one woman.” …To the extent the State’s interest is in preserving the historical tradition of one-man one-woman marriage, it cannot survive any level of scrutiny.

…The Court holds that the State does not have a sufficiently important/compelling interest in forbidding same-sex marriages or nullifying Colorado residents’ valid out-of-state same-sex marriages. The Marriage Bans are unconstitutional because they violate plaintiffs’ due process rights.

Judge Crabtree also ruled that the marriage ban violated the equal protection clause for the same reasons. He then ruled on whether civil unions should survive “as a separate but equal institution.”

“The dissimilitude between the terms ‘civil marriage’ and ‘civil union’ is not innocuous; it is a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status.” In re Opinions of the Justices to the Senate, 802 N.E.2d at 570. The fact is that those in a civil union do not and cannot obtain the same benefits and protections of federal law as married couples including filing joint tax returns, Family Medical Leave Act benefits, and facing loss of social security and veterans benefits. If civil unions were somehow the equivalent of marriage, there would be no real need for this second tier relationship. The State paid only lip-service to the plaintiffs’ arguments that civil unions were not unlike the “separate but equal” black and white educational systems. …The Court finds that confining same-sex couples to civil unions is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples and does not ameliorate the discriminatory effect of the Marriage Bans.

During last month’s oral arguments, Judge Crabtree was pretty clear about his skepticism about the state’s arguments in support of the marriage ban:

During arguments last month, Suthers’ office defended the state’s ban on gay marriage, arguing that 15 state and federal judges who have struck down similar measures in other states were wrong.

But Crabtree mocked the state’s argument that Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage protects the “nature of marriage” and the ability to produce children.

The judge also was skeptical of the state’s claim that previous judges had erred in their rulings.

“They all got it wrong?” Crabtree asked. “What am I supposed to do then when presented with this? Just punt?”

There are no comments for this post.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

FBI Reports Massive Surge In Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes in 2015

Baptist General Convention of Texas Warns Churches in Dallas and Austin Over LGBT Inclusion

Trump Selects Alt-Right Nationalist As "Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor"

WITNESS: Bean Blossom, Indiana

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.