Rogue Colorado official who issued more than 200 gay marriage licences in defiance of state laws is ordered to stop

The Boulder County clerk who jumped the gun said it was inevitable courts would ultimately find in favour of same-sex marriages anyway

A local official in Colorado who has spent the last month giving out gay marriage licences – even though the state is yet to decide its position on the practice – has been ordered to stop.

Hillary Hall, who runs Boulder County’s register office, started issuing the licences to same-sex couples when an appeals court in the neighbouring state of Utah ruled in their favour.

Voters in Colorado itself passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and the state has yet to have this position tested by the US Supreme Court.

As a result, gay marriages in Colorado remain illegal – but that wasn’t going to stop Ms Hall.

She argued that because Boulder sat within the jurisdiction of the Utah federal appeals court, the decision on a case in that (also conservative) state should apply to her county.

The clerk went on to issue 202 marriage certificates to gay couples, and was joined in her stance by the county clerks of Denver and Pueblo.

But Colorado’s state Attorney General, the Republican John Suthers, accused Ms Hall of wilfully misinterpreting the Utah verdict.

Mr Suthers has launched several legal bids to get her to stop in the past month, and on Tuesday the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to his request.

It ruled that the clerk shouldn’t issue any more of the permits until the issue had been ultimately resolved, and a similar block has also been applied to Denver County’s clerk Debra Johnson.

Hillary Hall, who runs Boulder County’s register office, started issuing the licences to same-sex couples when an appeals court in the neighbouring state of Utah ruled in their favour Hillary Hall, who runs Boulder County’s register office, started issuing the licences to same-sex couples when an appeals court in the neighbouring state of Utah ruled in their favour Ms Hall said she was disappointed by the ban, but said it was inevitable that the US Supreme Court would find in favour of gay marriages in Colorado.

She said: “Given the avalanche of recent cases determining that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, I am hopeful the stay will be short-lived and that we will be able to resume issuing licenses soon.”

Mr Suthers said the decision restored order to Colorado's legal process by making it clear that all clerks and recorders should comply with existing state law.

“We are pleased that the focus may now return to the important constitutional issues posed by the same-sex marriage cases pending in Colorado and around the country,” he said.

Pueblo County’s clerk also said the ban would be observed there, and Mr Suthers said the ruling should be seen as applying to all 64 counties to avoid “legal chaos”.

Last year the US Supreme Court ruled that the government must extend benefits to all legally married couples, gay or straight.

Since then, each of the 20 higher state or federal court that has taken up the issue has ruled that it is unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage.

The most recent of these decisions came on Monday this week, when judges in a Virginia federal appeals court decided that the state’s ban had “impermissibly infringe[d] on its citizens’ fundamental right to marry”.

Lawyers for Colorado have conceded that the state’s own prohibition on same-sex marriage is unlikely to withstand constitutional scrutiny, but said that the behaviour of county clerks should be governed by the law as it stands – for now.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas