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DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court has ordered the Boulder County Clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while it considers whether the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

A federal judge has already struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, but stayed his decision's impact until the U.S. Supreme Court could rule on it. Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall began issuing licenses to same-sex couples in June after a different federal court struck down Utah's similar ban. Hall had refused to stop issuing licenses despite earlier requests because Utah's ban is similar to Colorado's.

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Hall argues that withholding marriage licences from same-sex couples violates their civil rights. In a statement issued Tuesday, Hall said she would abide by the state court's decision.

"Given the avalanche of recent cases determining that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, I am hopeful the stay will be short-lived and that we will be able to resume issuing licenses soon," Hall said.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers says the U.S. Supreme Court needs to rule on the state's gay-marriage ban to ensure consistency. Hall continued issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite Suthers' repeated requests that she temporarily stop.

Because Hall refused to stop issuing licenses, Suthers filed an unusual protest with the Colorado Supreme Court on Sunday. In his filing, Suthers said Hall was creating chaos because state law doesn't have a provision for stopping a clerk from issuing licenses illegally. Because the elected clerk issued the licenses, the state has to accept them even if they are illegal, he argued.

"Today, the Colorado Supreme Court restored order to the state's legal process by making it clear that all clerk and recorders should comply with existing state law," Suthers said in a statement. "We are pleased that the focus may now return to the important constitutional issues posed by the same-sex marriage cases pending in Colorado and around the country."

Since June, Hall has issued 202 licenses to same-sex couples before halting Tuesday afternoon.

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