People of Colorado, John W. Suthers, and Colorado v. Hall
Case #: 2014CV30833
Date Filed: June 2014
Ruling Date: 29 July 2014
- Hillary Hall, in her official capacity as Clerk and Recorder for Boulder County, Colorado began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on 25 June 2014 and ceased to desist when ordered to do so by the state.
- The People of the State of Colorado, via Attorney General John W. Suthers and the State of Colorado (collectively, the “State”), filed a Complaint against Hall and filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction.
- 10 July 2014, District Court Judge Andrew Hartman ruled that though same-sex marriage was still technically illegal in Colorado, Hall could ignore the 9 July 2014 stay in the Brinkman ruling (see below) and keep issuing licenses.
- 21 July 2014, two weeks after denial of its request for a preliminary injunction against Clerk Hall, the State filed a notice of appeal asking the court to reconsider its 10 Jul 2014 ruling and block Clerk Hall from issuing same sex marriage licenses.
- 23 July 2014, the court denied the stay, again.
- 27 July 2014, after appealing to the CO Supreme Court, the plaintiffs filed a Petition for Relief asking the court to order Hall to stop issuing licenses during the appeal.
- 29 July 2014, the CO Supreme Court ordered Hall to cease issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Boulder. Although Hall said she was disappointed, she said she would respect the Court's order.
Charlie Craig and David Mullins v. Masterpiece Cakeshop
Case #: CR 2013-0008
Date Filed: May/June 2013
Ruling Date: 30 May 2014
- In 2012 Mullins and Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their wedding reception. Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips informed them that because of his religious beliefs the store’s policy was to deny service to customers who wished to order baked goods to celebrate a same-sex couple’s wedding.
- Mullins and Craig filed complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) contending that Masterpiece had violated this law.
- The ruling affirmed previous determinations that Masterpiece’s refusal to sell Mullins and Craig a wedding cake constituted discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in violation of Colorado law.
- Masterpiece Cakeshop was ordered to change its company policies, provide “comprehensive staff training” regarding public accommodations discrimination, and provide quarterly reports for the next two years regarding steps it has taken to come into compliance and whether it has turned away any prospective customers.
Case #: 517 U.S. 620 (SCOTUS)
Date Filed: 1993
Ruling Date: 20 May 1996
- This is a historic legal case which set valuable legal precedent.
- In 1992 Amendment 2 was added to Colorado’s state constitution by a statewide referendum. It prohibited the state or local government from adopting measures that would protect gay and lesbian people as a class from discrimination.
- Richard G. Evans, an administrator in Denver (one of the cities whose antidiscrimination laws had just been voided), sued Roy Romer, the governor of Colorado, to have Amendment 2 nullified as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause (which prohibits the states from denying to any person “the equal protection of the laws”). Synopsis of Rule of Law: A bare desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest.
- The Respondents, Evans and others (Respondents), argued that Amendment 2 did nothing more than deny homosexuals special rights.
- The stated purpose of the amendment was to prevent the deterioration of the sexual morality favored by most Coloradans.
- The state trial court permanently enjoined enforcement Amendment 2.
- In 1994 the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s decision.
- The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
- This case, dealing with sexual orientation and state laws, was the first Supreme Court case to address gay rights since Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), when the Court had held that laws criminalizing sodomy were constitutional.
- 10 October 1995, the case was argued before the Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
- 20 May 1006, in a landmark 6-3 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that CO's Amendment 2 preventing protected status based upon homosexuality or bisexuality did not satisfy the Equal Protection Clause. The majority opinion in Romer stated that the amendment lacked "a rational relationship to legitimate state interests", and the dissent stated that the majority "evidently agrees that 'rational basis' - the normal test for compliance with the Equal Protection Clause - is the governing standard". The state constitutional amendment failed rational basis review.
- Romer v. Evans is seen by many as a major turning point in the legal recognition of gay rights. Justice Anthony Kennedy, in writing the majority opinion for SCOTUS, gave advocates what they had been seeking all along: recognition that prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation is no more acceptable under the Constitution than discrimination on the basis of race or religion.
- The decision in Romer set the stage for Lawrence v. Texas (2003), where the Court overruled its decision in Bowers, and for the Supreme Court ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor (June 2013).