[JURIST] A judge for Colorado's Adams County District Court on Wednesday struck down [opinion, PDF] the state's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional but immediately stayed his ruling. Judge C Scott Crabtree ruled that Amendment 43 [text, PDF] of Colorado's state constitution, which was passed by voters in 2006 and defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, "bears no rational relationship to any conceivable government interest." Crabtree also ruled that, "confining same-sex couples to civil unions is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples and does not ameliorate the discriminatory effect of the Marriage Bans." Colorado Attorney General John Suthers [official website] has said that his office plans to appeal [Denver Post report], noting [press release]: "Judge Crabtree provides additional clarity that until the high court rules on the issue of same-sex marriage, Colorado's current laws remain in place."
Wednesday's ruling came in response to lawsuits filed in February and October [JURIST reports]. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper [official website] signed [JURIST report] the Colorado Civil Union Act [text, PDF] into law in March of last year. The legislation explicitly provides same-sex couples with many of the benefits held by married couples, including dependent insurance coverage and the ability to adopt a partner's child. Wednesday's ruling is the latest in a series of same-sex marriage bans being struck down by state and federal judges, including those in Kentucky, Indiana and Wisconsin [JURIST reports].