A second New Mexico county on Friday began issuing marriage
licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Forty-nine couples rushed to the Santa Fe County administrative
building in downtown Santa Fe following news that a judge had ordered
County Clerk Geraldine Salazar to issue marriage licenses regardless
of sexual orientation.
Santa Fe County Commissioner Liz Stefanics and Linda Siegle, a
lobbyist for LGBT rights advocate Equality New Mexico, were the first
to reach Salazar's office shortly after 1:30 PM, according to the AP.
The couple inquired whether they were still denying licenses to
“Not today,” Salazar replied.
Next in line were Alexander Hanna and Yon Hudson, the couple who
were denied a marriage license in July and filed the lawsuit which
resulted in Friday's court order.
“It's exhilarating and also humbling,” Hudson said.
Salazar kept the office open until 7:30 PM to accommodate the
She cheered the court's ruling: “I have been frustrated recently
wanting to issue licenses but being confronted with longstanding
statutes that do not permit it.”
The move came two days after Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins
began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. And a day after the
state's highest court ruled that a business could not discriminate
against same-sex couples.
“After so many years of seeing these couples have their hopes
raised, then dashed, it is so rewarding to see progress finally
coming,” Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico said in a statement.
Mexico Republicans to sue clerk issuing marriage licenses to gay
Santa Fae Attorney General Geno Zamora said earlier in a legal
memo that he believes gay couples can legally marry in New Mexico.
“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
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.
In a filing to the case, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, a
Democrat who is planning a bid for governor, called New Mexico's
prohibition unconstitutional. He has also refused to take legal
action to stop the Dona Ana county clerk from issuing additional
licenses to gay couples.