Gay marriage ban questioned by Colorado judge
Colorado defended its 2006 voter-approved gay marriage ban in court Monday, and faced opposition from the judge hearing the case.
Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree questioned the state's assertion that the ban protects procreation, and highlighted recent same-sex marriage ban reversals in other states.
A lawyer in Attorney General John Suthers' office argued that the judges in over a dozen state hearings legalizing same-sex marriage were incorrect in their rulings. Judge Crabtree bristled at that notion.
"They all got it wrong?" Crabtree asked, according to several media outlets. "What am I supposed to do then when presented with this? Just punt?"
He also disagreed that the same-sex marriage ban protects procreation, citing his engaged friends who are over 65 years old.
"Their marriage is not about having any more kids," Judge Crabtree said.
"How do I divorce that from love and devotion?" he asked. "Where does that fit?"
Assistant Solicitor General Michael Francisco compared changes in the legal definition of marriage to the enacting of no-fault divorces in the 1970s and 80s.
"It will have real-world consequences," he said.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has not spoken out in regards to the lawsuits filed by nine Coloradan gay couples, although his chief legal counsel, Jack Finlaw, told the court that the governor opposed the ban in 2006. Finlaw asked the judge for a ruling that is "respectful of the rights of all Coloradans."
Gay marriage is legal in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and last year, the federal government allowed same-sex partners to receive federal benefits.
Court cases are pending in several other states after federal judges have ruled their gay marriage bans unconstitutional. Despite the growing trend towards same-sex marriage legalization, Francisco said the past decisions must not be blindly adopted in Colorado.
"This court must draw its own conclusion," he said.