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Judge: Colorado’s marriage equality ban unconstitutional

Colorado on Wednesday joined Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin to become the 11th state in the U.S. where same-sex marriage ban was overturned but where the ruling was stayed while appeals are in progress.

This, even as Boulder, Colo. Clerk Hillary Hall has started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples ever since the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado, threw out Utah’s same sex marriage ban.

Gay marriage became legal in Utah on Dec. 20, 2013, when U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that the state's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. More than 1,300 same-sex couples were married before the US Supreme Court put a stay on the decision 17 days later, pending the state's appeal to overturn the ruling.

On June 25, 2014, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Shelby's decision that the gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, but immediately stayed its own ruling pending further appeals by the state of Utah.

District Judge C. Scott Crabtree ruled that Colorado’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

Scott ruled that the arguments for keeping the ban — that marriage is about protection of families and procreation of children — are “pretext for discriminating against" same-sex couples.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and Gov. John Hickenlooper have agreed that the state won't fight to defend its marriage equality ban.

At present, 19 states have legalized same-sex marriage — eight by court decision, eight by state legislature and three by popular vote. Washington D.C. legalized marriage equality in March 2010.

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