07/14/2014 05:09 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Supreme Court Protects Pennsylvania Marriage Equality (VIDEO)

A judge in Colorado has delivered what may be the strongest victory yet for marriage equality, while Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has rejected a challenge to the freedom to marry in Pennsylvania.

In the Colorado case, District Court Judge Andrew Hartman ruled that although Colorado's marriage-equality ban technically remains in effect, clerks can disregard it. It's a highly unusual move that indicates just how weak the case for defending the marriage-equality bans has become.

In Pennsylvania, a single clerk has repeatedly tried -- and failed -- to challenge marriage equality ever since it was enacted in May. Last week, Justice Alito effectively put an end to the litigation by rejecting it without comment. The clerk could appeal the decision; but at this point, after so many failures, it's nearly impossible that she could succeed.

More favorable rulings are likely in the coming weeks. A decision is due in Virginia, and another in Florida. Meanwhile, the Seventh Circuit has set an expedited schedule for Wisconsin and Indiana cases, so a decision may be ready by the time the Supreme Court begins its session in October.