Gay and lesbian couples received the
majority of marriage licenses issued by Santa Fe County in the past
According to the Santa
Fe New Mexican, gay couples accounted for 55 percent, or
nearly 1,400, of the licenses issued by the county. At least 600 of
the couples who received a marriage license in Santa Fe traveled from
Texas and Oklahoma.
A similar trend can be seen in Taos
County, where 48 percent of the 498 licenses issued since August 28,
2013 have gone to gay couples. More than 180 of the licenses were
issued to couples from Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
New Mexico became the 17th
state to allow gay couples to marry largely through the actions of
one man, Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins.
Ellins decided to independently act
against the accepted interpretation of state law on August 21, 2013,
saying that he had concluded that the state's marriage statutes are
“gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Dona Ana County from
issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples.”
Nine counties quickly followed Ellins'
lead, sparking a legal battle that culminated in the state Supreme
Court ruling that legalized marriage equality across New Mexico.
An effort to reverse the ruling with a
ballot measure quickly fizzled.
Ellins told the Las Cruces Sun-News
in late July that he has handed out nearly 900 licenses to gay