New Mexico Attorney General Gary King
on Monday told the New Mexico Supreme Court that a law prohibiting
gay couples from marrying is unconstitutional.
“New Mexico's guarantee of equal
protection to its citizens demands that same-sex couples be permitted
to enjoy the benefits of marriage in the same way and to the same
extent as other New Mexico citizens,” King said in filing with the
The court had asked King's office to
respond to a lawsuit filed by longtime partners Alexander Hanna and
Von Hudson, who sued the state after they were denied a license to
marry. The suit asks the court to order Santa Fe County Clerk
Geraldine Salazar to issue the couple a marriage license.
New Mexico is the only state in the
country that neither recognizes nor prohibits the recognition of gay
couples. The New Mexico Constitution's definition of marriage makes
no mention of gender. However, the state's application for a
marriage license includes spaces to list the bride and the groom,
terms King, a Democrat who is planning a bid for governor, has
previously said are “gender specific.”
King, however, also said in his filing
that the court should deny the couple's request because the lawsuit
wasn't properly before the high court. Plaintiffs filed their case
directly with the high court, bypassing the usual process of working
up the legal system.