New Mexico lawmakers on Thursday said that they would pursue legal action against a county clerk who began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples on Wednesday.

State Senator William Sharer of Farmington told the AP that a lawsuit seeking a court order to stop Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins from issuing such licenses would be filed as earlier as this week.

“It has to do with a county clerk cannot make law. That is the Legislature's job,” said Sharer, a Republican who in 2011 sponsored a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a heterosexual union.

Sharer said that more than two dozen GOP lawmakers had agreed to join the lawsuit.

Ellins said in a statement 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.”

The surprise move came as several legal challenges make their way through the courts.

In filings to those cases, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, a Democrat who is planning a bid for governor, called New Mexico's prohibition unconstitutional. On Wednesday, he said that his office's stated position in those cases “presents a barrier to us from bringing any action” against Ellins.

Republican Governor Susana Martinez, an opponent of marriage equality, also gave no indication that her office was planning to take legal action.

Ellins' office had issued more than 70 licenses to gay couples by Thursday afternoon, according to the AP. Most of the couples had opted to marry on the spot, afraid that their licenses would later be revoked.

In 2004, a Sandoval County clerk issued licenses to 64 gay couples. Those licenses were later deemed invalid.

In a separate but related development, a New Mexico lesbian suffering a life-threatening form of brain cancer on Wednesday asked a state court to let her legally marry her partner of 21 years.

(Related: Lesbian suffering from brain cancer asks New Mexico court to let her marry.)