The New Mexico county clerk who ignited
the state's gay marriage debate will donate leftover contributions
from his legal fight to the state's leading marriage equality
Hundreds of individuals answered Dona
Ana county clerk Lynn Ellins' plea for donations to cover the legal
costs of defending his decision to begin issuing marriage licenses to
gay and lesbian couples.
Ellins sparked a small revolution when
he announced on August 21 that New Mexico's marriage laws, which are
phrased in a gender-neutral manner, did not prohibit gay couples from
marrying. A group of Republican lawmakers, led by state Senator
William Sharer, sued to block Ellins from issuing additional marriage
licenses to gay couples.
The lawsuit against Ellins was
dismissed less than a week after the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled
last month that gay couples are allowed to marry in New Mexico.
Ellins told the Las
Cruces Sun-News that only a few thousand dollars were
leftover from the roughly $36,000 donated to his legal defense. He
said that he's donating that money to New Mexico Unites for Marriage
Equality, the campaign to derail proposed legislation aimed at
reversing the high court's order.
“We did the right thing at the right
time by issuing the licenses last August,” Ellins told the paper.
“And we're doing the right thing now by donating the balance of our
legal-defense fund to the coalition that stood besides us while we
waited for the [New Mexico] Supreme Court to make its determination.”
Robert Adams, campaign manager for New
Mexico Unties for Marriage, said that Ellins' contribution “will
strengthen New Mexico Unites for Marriage, as we continue the
campaign to protect marriage for all New Mexicans.”