DENVER — A federal judge in Denver has declared Colorado’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, but he issued a temporary stay of the ruling to give the state a chance to appeal.

Judge Raymond P. Moore’s ruling Wednesday was in response to a lawsuit filed July 1 by six gay couples who asked the court for an injunction ordering that the state’s ban no longer be enforced.

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Colorado Republican Attorney General John Suthers and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper had requested a stay so the issue could eventually be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court – both agreed the ban should be declared unconstitutional.