July 23, 2014
Federal District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore, an appointee of President Obama, has just issued an injunction in a challenge to Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban in a fairly straightforward opinion. The injunction is a preliminary one, meaning that it’s in effect pending the outcome of the case. But the court also ruled that the proceedings will be put on hold until the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issues its mandate in Kitchen v. Herbert, the Utah marriage equality case. Colorado falls within the Tenth Circuit’s jurisdiction.
From the opinion:
Upon consideration of all relevant matters, including argument of counsel, and for the reasons stated herein, the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED; the Defendants’ Motion to Stay the preliminary injunction until resolution of Kitchen is DENIED, but instead only a temporary stay is GRANTED; and the Defendants’ Motion to Stay further proceedings in this matter, apart from the preliminary injunction, is GRANTED.
That latter part of the ruling was requested by state officials, who agreed that the ban is unconstitutional but wanted the case on hold until the Kitchen appeal is finalized. The court allowed the case to be placed on hold, but did not put the injunction against the marriage ban on hold pending appeal.
Based on the most recent stay, it appears to the Court that it may well be that a message is being sent by the Supreme Court. But this Court is not some modern day haruspex skilled in the art of divination. This Court cannot – and, more importantly, it will not – tell the people of Colorado that the access to this or any other fundamental right will be delayed because it “thinks” or “perceives” the subtle – or not so subtle – content of a message not directed to this case. The rule of law demands more.
Thus, the only stay issued is a temporary one, “until 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 25, 2014.”
A state judge in Colorado ruled that the ban is unconstitutional earlier this month.
The Utah case decided by the Tenth Circuit is headed to the Supreme Court. As we’ve reported, Utah officials will petition the Court to review the case. If the Court denies review, the case will be final in the Tenth Circuit. Under those circumstances, the Colorado case would continue. The Court could grant review, which would leave the ultimate fate of the marriage ban in Colorado up to the Justices.
Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings