Republican lawmakers in New Mexico have filed a lawsuit seeking
to stop a county clerk from issuing marriage licenses to gay and
According to the AP, the action targets Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn
Ellins, whose office has issued more than 200 marriage licenses to
gay couples since last week.
Five additional counties have followed Ellins' lead, most of which
acted on court orders.
New Mexico counties issue marriage licenses to gay couples, cover 56%
The Republican lawmakers argue that Ellins exceeded his powers in
issuing the licenses.
He “has violated the New Mexico Constitution's separation of
powers doctrine by determining on his own which laws he will enforce
based upon his interpretation of the statutes and constitution,”
the lawsuit states.
New Mexico State Senator William Sharer is spearheading a broader
GOP effort to block all six counties from issuing such licenses. In
2011, Sharer sponsored a failed attempt to define marriage as a
heterosexual union in the New Mexico Constitution.
He's previously said that more than two dozen GOP lawmakers are
involved in the lawsuit.
“It has to do with a county clerk cannot make law. That is the
Legislature's job,” said Sharer
Mexico GOPer William Sharer: Gay men stop “whoring,” marry
In announcing his decision, Ellins, a lawyer, said that he had
concluded that the “state's marriage statutes are gender neutral
and do not expressly prohibit Dona Ana County from issuing marriage
licenses to same-gender couples.”