The state Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, bringing an abrupt halt to gay marriages in the last Colorado county to allow them.
The order was issued in response to a filing by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers on Friday, asking the court to stop Hall from granting same-sex marriages.
Hall had issued more than 200 such marriage licenses since June 25.
The Supreme Court said it will take up the matter and ordered a stay on same-sex marriage licenses in Boulder County while the case is resolved. Both Suthers and Hall will now be asked to issue responses.
Jane Culkin, a communications assistant for the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder's Office, said Tuesday afternoon the office reviewed the file and has stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"We are not going to be issuing any more marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the time being," Culkin said.
Hall said in a statement Tuesday she was "disappointed" by the ruling, but she hopes the stay will be brief.
"Given the avalanche of recent cases determining that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, I am hopeful the stay will be short-lived and that we will be able to resume issuing licenses soon," she said.
Hall has issued 202 marriage licenses to gay couples since she started issuing them more than a month ago in response to a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.
Suthers released a statement Tuesday praising the courts for creating uniformity across all Colorado clerks.
"The Colorado Supreme Court restored order to the state's legal process by making it clear that all clerk and recorders should comply with existing state law," Suthers said. "We are pleased that the focus may now return to the important constitutional issues posed by the same-sex marriage cases pending in Colorado and around the country."
In Friday's filing, Suthers argued that Hall's issuing licenses was causing "statewide confusion and legal chaos."
Suthers had previously tried to stop Hall in two other courts and was unsuccessful both times. He filed suit in Boulder District Court seeking an emergency injunction, but Judge Andrew Hartman twice denied the motion. The Colorado Court of Appeals also upheld Hartman's ruling after Suthers filed an appeal.
Shortly after Hartman's initial ruling, Hall was joined by clerks in Denver and Pueblo counties in issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
But on July 18, the state Supreme Court issued a stay to stop Denver from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in connection with a joint Denver/Adams County case.
Pueblo voluntarily stopped giving marriage licenses to gay couples after legal threats from Suthers, leaving Boulder County as the only county issuing them when Tuesday's ruling was handed down.
Michelle Alfredsen, of Arvada, and her wife, Wendy, were the first gay couple to be married in Boulder on June 25, and Alfredsen said she was "saddened" by the ruling.
"The idea that this can even be debated, voted on and decided in a court of law is so unfathomable," she said. "I am just speechless that I am the only one that doesn't have control over who I marry. The decision to marry should be between Wendy and me, and no one else."
Alfredsen said she would continue to fight for her rights.
"We knew there would be hurdles, and we are up for the challenge and we aren't stopping until there is marriage equality in Colorado. And it is a shame that this is what Mr. Suthers will end his career on: fighting for legal discrimination."