Why not us? That is the position nine gay couples in the state of Colorado are taking in hopes of adding the state to the list of recent states to overturn same-sex marriage bans. According to ABC News on Feb. 19, the couples have filed a civil rights lawsuit in Denver District Court on Wednesday seeking to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
As Amendment 43 was voted into law in 2006, a referendum added to the state’s constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman, gay couples in Colorado did see some progress as the state passed the Colorado Civil Union Act in 2013. The Act provides gay couples with similar rights as married couples, but stops short of the full marriage rights same-sex couples across the nation are seeking on state levels.
According to the lawsuit, not having full recognition categorizes gay couples as second- class citizens.
“Colorado law creates two classes of citizens: those free to marry the person they love, and those denied that fundamental right. Same-sex couples in Colorado are relegated to a second-class level of citizenship that denies their relationships the full panoply of rights enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples.”
The lawsuit names Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper as a defendant, along with the Clerk and Recorder for the City and County of Denver, Debra Johnson.
Four of the nine couples who filed the lawsuit were married in other states and for them, living in their own home state downgrades their marriage recognition status as “their valid marriages are reduced” to the second-class status that both Amendment 43 and the Colorado Civil Union Act has suggests.
As similar lawsuits have resulted in victory recently in the states of Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, Gov. Hickenlooper said the litigation does not come as a surprise.