A gay male couple has filed a lawsuit
against the Santa Fe County clerk for denying them a marriage license
when they applied for one, making it the second challenge to the
state's laws limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.
Longtime partners Alexander Hanna and Von Hudson applied for their license and filed their lawsuit on
“We believe that the clerk, like
other public officials in New Mexico, supports the issuance of
marriage licenses to all loving couples who wish to get married,”
Kate Ferlic, a lawyer for the couple, told The
New York Times. She added that the lawsuit “is meant to be
the means by which they get the legal clarification they need to
proceed with issuing licenses.”
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) of New Mexico is representing two gay couples in a similar
lawsuit filed in March.
Just hours before news of the new
lawsuit broke, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King cautioned city
clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
King has been under pressure to make a
statement on whether gay couples can legally marry in New Mexico.
Santa Fe City Attorney Geno Zamora said in a legal memo that he
believes they can.
“New Mexico's statutory definition of
marriage is gender-neutral. Since New Mexico does not define
marriage as between a man and a woman, and since New Mexico does not
prohibit same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage is permitted in New
Mexico,” Zamora wrote.
His opinion was the impetus behind a
resolution approved by the Santa Fe City Council declaring such
unions legal in the state and urging county clerks to issue marriage
licenses to gay couples.
Citing pending litigation, King said on
Thursday that he was unable to issue an official opinion.