Six couples from across Colorado filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court seeking to declare the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
The lawsuit names Gov. John Hickenlooper, Attorney General John Suthers and two county clerks as defendants in the third multiplaintiff lawsuit filed in state or federal court challenging Colorado's marriage laws.
The filing cites last week's decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down Utah's same-sex marriage law.
"The Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state's marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union," the lawsuit says, quoting the 10th Circuit split decision.
David Lane, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, said that a decision by a federal judge enabling gay marriage in Colorado could come within a month.
Unlike the other two other cases challenging Colorado's gay-marriage ban — filed in Denver and Adams counties — this case was filed in federal court. Any decision will apply to every county in the state, his law partner Mari Newman said.
"We are seeking to vindicate the Boulder County clerk's office in the process," Newman said.
Boulder County began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples June 25.
Suthers warned that he would take legal action unless the practice was halted because the 10th Circuit stayed its decision pending a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Catherine Burns, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said she believes that Boulder authorities are brave to issue marriage licenses immediately.
"All loving couples should have the right to marry who they choose," Burns said. "Most families in Colorado do not want this discriminatory law on the books."
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning by the Denver law firm of Killmer, Lane and Newman, includes a wide variety of plaintiffs, including rugby players, educators and government employees.
The plaintiffs are Burns and Shelia Schroeder; Mark Thrun and Geoffrey Bateman; Rachel Catt and Cassie Rubald; Breanna Alexander and Stacy Parrish; Angela Cranmore and Julianne Deloy; and Karen Collier and Denise Lord.
Their lawsuit asks a federal judge to validate out-of-state marriages involving gay couples and permanently prevent Colorado officials from denying marriage license applications by gay couples.
Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206, denverpost.com/coldcases or twitter.com/kirkmitchell