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Colorado's same-sex marriage ban shouldn't stand, judge rules

By Greg Botelho and Bill Mears, CNN
updated 8:20 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
April Dawn Breeden, left, and longtime partner Crystal Peairs are married by the Rev. Katie Hotze-Wilton at St. Louis City Hall on Wednesday, November 5. A Missouri judge on November 5 overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages and ordered registrars to start issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples. More than 30 states and the District of Columbia allow marriage for same-sex couples. April Dawn Breeden, left, and longtime partner Crystal Peairs are married by the Rev. Katie Hotze-Wilton at St. Louis City Hall on Wednesday, November 5. A Missouri judge on November 5 overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriages and ordered registrars to start issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples. More than 30 states and the District of Columbia allow marriage for same-sex couples.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Colorado judge rules against his state's same-sex marriage ban
  • He says it violates gay and lesbians' constitutional rights
  • Crabtree stays his own ruling pending appeals

(CNN) -- A state judge struck down Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, but he prevented gay and lesbian couples from immediately marrying by staying his decision.

"The court holds that the marriage bans violate plaintiffs' due process and equal protection guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," Judge C. Scott Crabtree wrote.

Crabtree also ruled that same-sex marriages performed out-of-state should be recognized in Colorado and that having "civil unions" instead of marriages "is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples."

While the judge clearly came down in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry, he did not give the go-ahead for such marriages to occur right away.

His rationale is the "final chapter of this undoubtedly has to be written in either Denver, Colorado, or Washington, DC" and that "it will take time for this issue to be finally resolved."

"The court finds that a stay is necessary to avoid the instability and uncertainty which would result in the state of Colorado if the court did not stay its ruling and for the orderly administration of justice," said Crabtree, ordering his own judgment to be "stayed pending a resolution of this matter on appeal."

Crabtree is the latest judge to rule same-sex marriage prohibitions -- like the one in Colorado's state constitution -- should not stand. Most of those rulings have come from federal judges in the year after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark U.S. v. Windsor ruling.

While these decisions have been one-sided in favor of gay and lesbian couples pushing for marriage on par with opposite-sex couples, most of them have been stayed as appeals work through the system.

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn't decided when or, even, if it might consider whether same-sex marriage bans in individual states should be allowed.

Utah wants Supreme Court to back its same-sex marriage ban

Same-sex marriages put on hold in Indiana by federal appeals court

Judge rules Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

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