Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Obama plays pool & turns down weed as Supreme Court twiddles thumbs on same-sex marriage

Hillary Hall

Sometimes it seems that if Colorado isn’t the center of the universe, at least it is the center of the United States. Take same-sex marriage or marijuana.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama beat the mayor of  Denver, John Hickenlooper, in a game of pool. While Obama was in a brewery owned by Hickenlooper someone jokingly offered the president a joint.

Colorado became the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana on Jan. 1, and Obama has had his attorney general turn a blind eye to the opening of more than 200 marijuana stores in Denver alone. There already were dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries.

A Colorado report released Wednesday said it appeared the demand for marijuana was much larger than expected when the law took effect on Jan. 1. Nearly 500,000 of 5,000 million people in the state use marijuana once a month, and it was very popular with tourists.

Obama, who was on a campaign trip to Colorado, where he was first nominated as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, turned down the free weed.

This is where the story gets interesting. On the same day, a judge in the Denver area ruled the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

The decision of Distrit Judge C. Scott Crabtree wasn’t that unusual. After all, his was the 16th decision in state or federal courts to make same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

Crabtree’s decision vindicated the decision of Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples last week based on a decision overturning Utah’s ban.

Hall said although the decision of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver didn’t even cover Colorado, judges around the had made it clear same-sex couples shouldn’t have to wait a day longer, while the Supreme Court twiddles its thumbs and allows Hobby Lobby to deny insurance for contraception to its female employees.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito may have given a  hint of the court will rule when he refused without comment an appeal to suspend a federal judge’s decision knocking down Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban. 

While it was clear enough to Hall, Colorado’s Republican attorney general was trying to get a judge in a different district court to stop her from issuing more licenses.
"We are ecstatic. There is much cheering in our house," Sandra Abbott said after Crabtree's ruling. She and her partner, Amy Smart, were one of the nine couples in the lawsuit. "We waited a long time for this ruling."

Colorado Atty. Gen. John Suthers, a Republican in a state Democrats now dominate, said it could create confusion if judges decided against allowing gay marriages, which is highly unlikely.

Hall has said her office is computerized and she knows who is getting the licenses and won’t have any problem asking for their return.

Suthers said he will appeal the decision, just what the country needs, another time- and money-wasting lawsuit. On Thursday a Boulder judge may have driven a nail in the coffin of the ban. He refused Suthers' request to temporarily stop the issuance of licenses.

Denver's city clerk began issuing same-sex marriage licenses Thursday.

For Boulder, one of the most liberal cities in the nation, it was déjà vu. A previous clerk had tried to issue same-sex marriage licenses in 1975. A judge’s decision quickly stopped that.

At the moment the question is, “who’s on first.”

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