Same-sex marriage licenses withheld, Utilities offers rebuffed, more 


More marriage machinations

On July 18, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered Denver to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and prevented Adams County from doing so, while it decides if a state ban on the marriages is constitutional. Denver complied.

Though other counties weren't blocked from issuing licenses because they weren't party to the litigation, Pueblo County also stopped issuing licenses Monday, at the request of Attorney General John Suthers. Boulder was still issuing licenses as of Monday afternoon, and representatives of the office said they did not plan to stop.

The state is appealing an earlier order in which a lower-court judge declined to block Boulder from issuing licenses. Suthers had recently asked the state Supreme Court to stop licenses from being issued, and to decide whether the state's same-sex marriage ban, approved by voters in 2006, is constitutional. The court will likely rule on the latter issue early next year.

Tom Russell, a law professor at the University of Denver and one of the lawyers litigating same-sex marriage cases in Colorado, says Suthers should stop defending the ban. "The attorney general continues to expend a lot of effort and resources fighting against marriage equality," he says.

In a separate but related development, also on July 18, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that no same-sex marriage licenses be issued for now in Utah. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled that Utah's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, but had put a stay on its decision pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. That Utah ruling on June 25 was the impetus for some Colorado clerks to begin issuing licenses, because Colorado is also part of the 10th Circuit. — JAS

Mental health center opens

ACI Counseling has opened a mental health crisis center at 3608 Galley Road, part of a state-level effort to open four walk-in crisis centers to better address Colorado's mental health care needs.

In May, the League of Women Voters released an overview of Colorado's behavioral health system. One of their recommendations was developing and funding behavioral health crisis centers to address needs in a clinic-like setting. In early July, it was announced the state would fund four crisis centers, one in each quadrant of the state.

The crisis center in the Springs is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Walk-ins are accepted and same-day appointments are available. The center will have DUI classes, anger management and intensive outpatient programs, and psychological testing and assessment for specific needs. Patients can also get referrals to inpatient mental health services in town. For bus commuters, there is a bus stop across the street.

Previously, the center held DUI classes, offered some mental health services, and provided a food and clothing pantry.

For more information, call 855/384-2656. The website acicounseling.org will have a crisis services page up soon. — GS

Springs rebuffs power offers

Two unsolicited proposals to take over Colorado Springs Utilities' power division fell flat last week when the board agreed unanimously to issue letters to both parties, saying CSU isn't for sale or lease. The Utilities Board also directed staff to create a letter to be sent to future proposers.

Minnesota-based Xcel Energy recently asked to meet privately with the Utilities Board, comprised of City Council, to discuss acquiring Utilities' power plants and transmission system. A Boulder firm, Vision Ridge Partners, proposed leasing the electric system.

Mayor Steve Bach, a non-voting ex-officio member of the Utilities Board, urged the board in a release to protect ratepayers' long-term interests while balancing risk factors, such as environmental mandates and debt load. — PZ


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