Couple challenges Colorado gay marriage ban

Back in 2006, Colorado voters (56% of ’em) approved Amendment 43 — now appearing as Article II, Section 31 of the Colorado Constitution — which provides that “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.”* The statutes governing marriage likewise say that only one man, one woman unions can be valid marriages. C.R.S. § 14-2-104(1)(b).

The test case arose on September 24, 2007 when Kate Burns and Sheila Schroeder, a lesbian couple from Englewood, arrived at the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office to apply for a marriage license. They weren’t allowed to apply, of course, and were arrested for criminal trespass when they refused to leave.

On Monday the couple’s attorney filed a motion in the trespassing case asserting that the gay marriage ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Denver District Court has set the motion for hearing on February 28 and a two-day jury trial for April 14-15.

Meanwhile, the Boulder  Daily Camera reports that Burns and Schroeder have filed a separate lawsuit in Denver District Court seeking a declaration that Amendment 43 violates the federal constitution. That’s entirely possible, of course, but it’s at least equally possible that the Daily Camera confused the motion filed in the trespass case with a separate civil complaint.

*Unlike anti-gay constitutional amendments in many other states, Colorado’s doesn’t prohibit “civil unions” or other marriage-like arrangements for gay couples. One of the unintended consequences of such broadly-worded amendments is discussed here.

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  • Charlotte  On February 15, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue:

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