A New Mexico judge on Monday declared gay marriage legal in the
Judge Alan Malott of the Second Judicial District Court issued a
judgment against the county clerks of Bernalillo and Santa Fe
Counties and the State of New Mexico declaring that, to the extent
New Mexico law prevents gay and lesbian couples from marrying, “those
prohibitions are unconstitutional and unenforceable.”
However, Malott's ruling is only binding on clerks inside
Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties and it was uncertain how the state's
30 other counties, which were not involved in the lawsuit, would
Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver told the AP that
she planned to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples
starting Tuesday morning at 8 AM.
Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico,
which brought the case along with the National Center for Lesbian
Rights (NCLR), said that the ruling puts New Mexico “on the brink
of joining the growing list of states who live and honor the values
of family, liberty and love.”
Malott had been asked to recognize the marriage of Jen Roper and
Angelique Neuman, a Pojoaque couple together 21 years. The women
married Friday in the lobby of the cancer center at Christus St.
Vincent Regional Medical Center.
Roper, who is suffering from a life-threatening form of brain
cancer, had earlier filed an emergency request to let her legally
marry her partner. A separate ruling handed down on Friday ordered
Santa Fe Clerk Geraldine Salazar to begin issuing licenses to gay
Salazar welcomed the order, handing out 49 marriage licenses on
Friday and another 108 on Monday.
Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins on Wednesday began issuing
marriage licenses to gay couples without a court order.
Without a law specifically prohibiting or legalizing nuptials for
gay couples, proponents have argued that the state's laws on marriage
are gender neutral and have turned to the courts to resolve the
State Attorney General Gary King, a Democrat, has called the
prohibition unconstitutional, while Governor Susana Martinez, a
Republican, has so far only reiterated her opposition to marriage
However, a group of Republican lawmakers is planning to file a
lawsuit to stop Dona Ana County from issuing additional marriage
licenses to gay couples.
“It is inexplicable how a district court just today discovered a
new definition of marriage in our laws, when our marriage law has not
been changed in over a century,” said Senator William Sharer, who
is spearheading the effort to reverse the trend.