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 advocate.

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.”