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Colorado's same-sex ban on marriage challenged in court

Colorado does not currently allow same-sex marriage, but it does allow for civil unions. When a lesbian couple went to apply for a marriage license, the clerk denied the couple the license because they did not meet Colorado's requirement for marriage because they were both females.

As a result of the marriage license denial, the couple filed a lawsuit in District Court. Mark Ferradino, who is the first openly gay House Speaker in Colorado, said that One Colorado, a Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender (LGBT) group, wants a repeal of the same-sex marriage. This was after the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling dealt with Section 3 of DOMA, which said that the U.S. government couldn't recognize state-legalized same-sex marriages.

One legal analyst for a Colorado news station said that the ban on same-sex marriages would be ruled the same as DOMA. That analyst believes, "It's simply a matter of time."

It is not known when this lawsuit will be heard, but it is sure to be carefully watched. Earlier this year, Colorado legalized civil unions for same-sex couples; however, same-sex marriage has been illegal since 2006. According to the lawsuit, the rights for same-sex couples are not the same in a civil union as they are in a same-sex marriage.

With the ruling against DOMA, same-sex couples who are married now have many of the same rights as heterosexual married couples, including being able to file joint tax returns. While the debate about same-sex marriage continues in many states, there are 14 states that have legalized same-sex marriage, according to procon.org. Five of those states legalized same-sex marriage through a court decision, while six states did so through their legislatures and three by a popular vote.

For same-sex couples wishing to move forward with a civil union, marriage or divorce, it's important to understand the laws in the state where they live. A Colorado family law attorney can provide advice on these subjects, and can protect the rights of a same-sex couple.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Colorado Couple Suing Over State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban" Matt Ferner, Oct. 31, 2013

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