Marriage Equality USA

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Lawsuits - Pending

Burns v. Hickenlooper

Case #: 1:14-cv-01817
Court Level: 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date Filed: 1 July 2014
Date of Appeal: August 2014


  • Six same-sex couples who have civil unions, but wish to marry, filed suit seeking the right to marry in Colorado and recognition for out-of-state marriages. The plaintiffs also filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction.
  • 2 July 2014, the defendants filed a non-opposition to an agreed form of preliminary injunction subject to that injunction being stayed pending the final disposition of the 10th Circuit’s decision in the Utah case Kitchen v. Herbert.
  • 2 July 2014, Debra Johnson, the Clerk and Recorder for the City and County of Denver, filed a joinder in motion to stay the proceedings.
  • 23 July 2014, the Preliminary Injunction was granted, but temporarily stayed until 8:00 a.m. on 25 August 2014.
  • 23 July 2014, the AG immediately filed a notice of appeal.
  • 7 August 2014, the plaintiffs filed their opposition to the stay pending appeal.
  • 14 August 2014, the Attorney General filed his reply in support of the motion for a stay.
  • 21 August 2014, the 10th Circuit granted the state's motion for a stay pending appeal. 
  • 2 September 2014, the CO AG filed a motion asking the 10th Circuit to put a hold on this appeal pending resolution in Oklahoma's Bishop v. Smith and Utah's Kitchen v. Herbert.
  • 18 September 2014, the court put this case on hold until further notice. The parties are to inform the court when SCOTUS makes a decision re: the pending cert petitions from Utah and Oklahoma and also file a status report in 30 days if there is no SCOTUS decision by that time.
  • 6 October 2014, SCOTUS denied cert for 10th Circuit cases from Oklahoma and Utah, and then lifted the stays in both states. A Joint Status Report and Motion to Lift Stay was immediately filed for this case.  
  • 6 October 2014, the CO Attorney General filed a Motion to Dismiss the appeal and lift the stay. 
Brinkman v. Long

Case #: 2013-CV-32572
Court Level: State Appeal Court
Date Filed: 31 October 2013
Date of Appeal: N/A


  • The plaintiffs, Rebecca Brinkman and Margaret Burd, applied for a marriage license at the Adams County Clerk and Recorder's Office and were denied because the law in Colorado excludes same-sex couples from marriage
  • 31 October 2013, the couple filed suit seeking to marry.
  • Brinkman v. Adams County Clerk and Recorder was consolidated with McDaniel-Miccio v. the State of Colorado (below) and with Burns v. Hickenlooper (above).
  • 16 June 2014, Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree heard oral argument. The judge mocked the state's argument that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage protects the "nature of marriage" and the ability to produce children. He was also skeptical of the state's claim that previous judges had erred in their rulings. "They all got it wrong?" Crabtree asked, referring to 15 other state and federal judges. "What am I supposed to do then when presented with this? Just punt?" Crabtree will issue a written order at a later date. He noted that his decision likely will be appealed.
  • 16 June 2014, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Attorney General John Suthers asked the federal court to issue an injunction declaring Colorado's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. However, they want the court to delay implementation of the ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue.
  • 9 July 2014, Judge Crabtree ruled that the Colorado ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. He stayed his decision pending appeal.
  • The clerks in 4 different counties, Adams, Boulder, Denver and Pueblo, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the existing ban.
  • 10 July 2014 in People of Colorado, John W. Suthers, and Colorado v. Hall (see above) a district judge ruled that Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall could ignore the state ban and keep issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
  • 14 July 2014, the State of Colorado filed an emergency motion for an injunction with the Colorado Supreme Court, which the Colorado Supreme Court granted on 18 July 2014, ordering the clerks of Denver and Adams counties from issuing further marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending resolution of the appeal.
  • 21 July 2014, Clerk Gilbert Ortiz also stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, albeit reluctantly.
  • 29 July 2014, Hillary Hall was ordered by the CO Supreme Court to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (See People of Colorado, John W. Suthers, and Colorado v. Hall under Lawsuits-Resolved.)
McDaniel-Miccio v. State of Colorado

Case #: 2014-cv-30731
Date Filed: 19 February 2014
Date of Appeal: N/A


  • Five unmarried same-sex couples in Colorado filed suit seeking to marry in their home state of CO, and four couples are part of the suit to gain legal recognition for their marriages legally performed in other states.
  • Consolidated with Brinkman v. Long (above).

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