New Mexico could become the 14th state to legalize gay
marriage as early as next month.
The New Mexico Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a case
challenging the state's laws on marriage. Oral arguments are set to
be heard on October 23. And the court could hand down a ruling
immediately after hearing arguments from lawyers in the case or it
More than 900 marriage licenses have been issued in New Mexico
since Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins decided on August 21 without
a court order that it was legal in New Mexico for gay and lesbian
couples to marry. As of next week, seven counties, representing
nearly 60 percent of the state's population, will join Dona Ana in
issuing such licenses.
sought to pay legal bills in New Mexico gay marriage lawsuit.)
New Mexico's 33 counties and county clerks on Thursday petitioned
the Supreme Court to review a state district judge's ruling declaring
it unconstitutional to deny a gay couple a marriage license. The
judge based his decision on a 1972 voter-approved constitutional
amendment which prohibits discrimination “on account of the sex of
Steve Kopelman, lawyer for the county group, told
the AP that county clerks were “looking for a uniform answer.”
“There's a controversy here. This is not a simple issue
legally. But we're not weighing in on the moral issue. We're
weighing in on the law,” Kopelman said.
New Mexico is the only state in the union that neither explicitly
authorizes nor prohibits gay nuptials.