New Mexico County Clerk Begins Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses, State’s AG Supportive
Photo via Instagram user valentine_bob
Lynn Ellins (D), County Clerk for Dona Ana New Mexico, has announced his county will now be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the June release of New Mexico’s Attorney General Gary King’s position paper which characterized the practice as unconstitutional.
Ellins, according to seattlepi.com, said “Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act.”
In spite of the fact that New Mexico does not expressly prohibit the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses, King has asked New Mexico county clerks not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Even with the lack of support from the state’s Attorney General, lcsun-news.com quoted Lynn Ellins as saying “After careful review of New Mexico’s laws it is clear that the state’s marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Doña Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples… I see no reason to make committed couples in Doña Ana County wait another minute to marry…couples requesting marriage license will no longer be turned down, and starting today, licenses will be issued at the Doña Ana County Government.”
A similar issue occurred in Pennsylvania at the beginning of August when the Montgomery County Register of Wills, D. Bruce Hanes, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the state’s ban of such marriages. This resulted in the state filling suit against the county.
“I decided to come down on the right side of history and the law and was prepared to issue a license to the couple,” said Hanes.
Although the state of California started giving same-sex couples marriage licenses back in June, Dona Ana County would be the first county in the state of New Mexico to do so, making New Mexico the second state to allow same sex marriage in the southwestern United States and the fourteenth nationwide.
This follows closely after a Santa Fe, New Mexico same-sex couple, Alex Hanna and Yon Hudson, requested that the New Mexico Supreme Court speed up their decisions over lawsuits seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The couple, along with their lawyer, Brian Egolf (D), have requested that the New Mexico Supreme Court merge all involved cases and send them to lower courts to expedite the process. While the Supreme Court refused to make a decision over the legality of same-sex marriage in New Mexico, they did say they would allow lower courts to review and consider the issue.
The Supreme Court used the same method of consolidation back in 2011 when they were discussing the drawing of district boundaries, which allowed for speedier and more effective decisions and by assigning the case to a retired judge in the area, was able to avoid conflicting rulings.
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