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‘Legal anarchy’: County clerks flout Colorado marriage law, give licenses to gay couples

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Hillary Hall
County clerk Hillary Hall has been giving out licenses to same-sex couples since June 25, and refuses to stop. Youtube screenshot

Colorado's high-tension marriage debate hit a new peak this week, as three county clerks and a county judge ignored state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

On Wednesday, Boulder District Judge Andrew Hartman ruled that Boulder Colorado Clerk Hillary Hall could continue to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Hall has been giving out licenses to same-sex couples since June 25.

The Denver and Pueblo County Clerks joined Hall in handing out the marriage licenses after Hartman's ruling.

Hall began handing out the licenses after the 10th Circuit Court ruled that a state marriage amendment in nearby Utah was unconstitutional. However, that ruling was given a stay by the same court. Utah has already appealed the decision, and the case is expected to be heard by either the full 10th Circuit Court or the U.S. Supreme Court in the near future.

Hall claimed that because Utah and Colorado are both in the 10th Circuit Court's purview, her state's law would be considered as having been ruled unconstitutional. Thus, she argues, she does not have to follow it.

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Supporters of same-sex "marriage" have stood with Hall and her fellow clerks, as well as Hartman, noting that a Colorado judge recently overturned the state's 2006 amendment. However, like the 10th Circuit Court, District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree issued a stay on his own ruling in that case, meaning the marriage amendment remains in effect.

The state's Democratic Governor and Republican Attorney General have also asked for a "freeze" on the legal battle over the issue within the state.

The Attorney General of Colorado has ordered Hall to stop, but so far she is ignoring the state's top legal office.

In a statement, Focus on the Family's Senior Director for Public Policy said that Hall "is disregarding [the] law by issuing these licenses. Since when does a county clerk get to decide state law, or declare a state definition of marriage? This is legal anarchy."

Colorado's 2006 amendment was approved by 55 percent of the state's voters. 

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