Time to get a little Rocky Mountain love.
A federal judge declared Colorado’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional but temporarily stayed his ruling pending the outcome of appeals to a higher court.
U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore issued the ruling Wednesday in a civil lawsuit. A state judge issued a similar ruling earlier this month in a separate case.
The federal lawsuit, filed by six gay couples on July 1, names Gov. John Hickenlooper, Attorney General John Suthers and clerks from Denver and Jefferson counties as defendants.
One day after the lawsuit was filed, Suthers’ office asked the judge to stop proceedings in the case, pending a final resolution of a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found Utah’s ban on gay marriages unconstitutional. As part of the request, Suthers asked that a stay be put in place, ensuring that county clerks do not begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until a higher court makes a ruling.
Moore rejected Suthers’ argument that failing to issue a stay would be harmful to the state and cause legal confusion.
Still, Moore temporarily issued the stay, and gave Suthers’ office until 8 a.m. on Aug. 25 to appeal his ruling to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In denying Suthers’ request for a stay Moore wrote that, “it is Plaintiffs who suffer irreparable harm if Colorado’s unconstitutional same-sex marriage ban is not enjoined.”