New Mexico Attorney General Gary King has defended his decision to not sue county clerks issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

King, a Democrat who's running for governor against Governor Susana Martinez, said that he believes the best way to resolve the issue is to let the state Supreme Court decide whether New Mexico's laws allow such unions. Martinez, an opponent of marriage equality, has suggested that voters should decide the issue.

In a Facebook post titled Same Sex Marriage is About Civil Rights, King likens gay nuptials to civil rights battles of the past.

“[S]ome people, including the Governor, say that the issue of whether same sex couples should be afforded the same rights as everyone else in our state must be decided by the voters,” King wrote. “I urge the reader to consider the following: The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863; the 19th Amendment (Women's Suffrage) in 1920; the Civil Rights act of 1964; – none of which were voted upon by the general electorate.”

King added, “Here is where some critics have incorrectly interpreted the legal process. Some have said that I am trying to unilaterally disregard state law by not suing county clerks who have elected to issue same sex marriage licenses. Several District Courts have addressed the issue. Two separate judges essentially ordered two different county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Another judge ruled that the state’s prohibitive statutes are unconstitutional, paving the way for another clerk to start issuing the licenses. I maintain that the best way to resolve this issue is for the NM Supreme Court to decide whether our current law is unconstitutional.”

(Related: New Mexico could legalize gay marriage as early as next month.)