August 30, 2013
Marriage equality may very well come to a seventh New Mexico county, thanks to a judge’s ruling. From the Albuquerque Journal:
Los Alamos County was on the brink Thursday of becoming the seventh New Mexico county to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, while county clerks around the state looked to the state Supreme Court for a decisive, statewide ruling on gay marriage’s legality.
Same-sex marriage advocates saw another regional victory when a judge in the Santa Fe-based 1st Judicial District ordered Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover to either issue a marriage license to a lesbian couple that had been denied earlier this week or show up in court next week to argue why she should not have to do so.
“We consider it a significant victory for marriage equality,” Santa Fe attorney John Day, who represents the Los Alamos couple, said of the ruling.
Stover, a Republican, told the Journal that she had not yet seen the judge’s ruling. Last week, Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar received a similar ruling, but opted to begin offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples as opposed to arguing in court against doing so. It’s unclear whether Stover will do the same: “Once we get (the order), we’ll review it with the county attorney,” she told the paper.
Also yesterday, an Albuquerque judge allowed the clerks of 31 of the state’s counties, as well as the New Mexico Association of Counties, to intervene in a lawsuit out of Bernalillo County. All 33 of the county clerks voted unanimously to intervene in the suit in hopes that their participation will encourage the state Supreme Court to take up the case soon and issue a definitive ruling on the state of marriage laws in New Mexico.
In a statement after the decision, Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar said, “We want direction from the New Mexico Supreme Court. I have been ordered by two district courts to issue same-gender marriage licenses and not ordered to change the statutory marriage application to gender neutrality. I want clear judicial authority to do so.”
On Wednesday, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied a request from a same-sex couple who have challenged the state’s marriage laws in a Santa Fe lawsuit asking the high court to consolidate several marriage equality lawsuits and place them on an expedited track.
“One thing the Supreme Court has made clear is they are not going to take procedural shortcuts,” Daniel Ivey-Soto, the New Mexico County Clerks Affiliate’s executive director, told the Albuquerque Journal.