Putting It Together

Just How Legal Is Marriage Equality In New Mexico?

This has been a great week for marriage equality in New Mexico. A court ruled Monday that clerks in Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties had to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately. Clerks in three other counties quickly said that they would follow suit. The county clerk in Dona Ana county already began issuing licenses on his own last week. Marriages started in Albuquerque on Tuesday. That means that more than half the state’s population lives in places where it’s possible for same-sex couples to get married.

Which is great. And confusing. Because it’s not entirely clear what is happening with the rest of the state. Attorney General Gary King says he won’t appeal the court decision, which was limited to just two counties. As for the remaining 28 counties that haven’t announced their intentions: well, apparently, until a court says otherwise, they can decide on their own what they want to do.

So marriage equality is legal in New Mexico is legal. Except where it’s not. Which makes New Mexico the 14th state to approve marriage equality. Or possibly the 13.5th state.

All this messiness will eventually get resolved, and pretty clearly in the right direction. But it will take a while. The state Supreme Court has signaled that it’s in no hurry to take the issue on. Marriage law in the state is decentralized to begin with, because there really are no state laws regulating marriage. All of this creates a hodge-podge of local decisions that ultimately add up to the Lawyer Full Employment Act.

Just remember, though: the current battle over marriage equality took off because of the action of a single county: San Francisco. It was a bumpy ride sometimes, but look at where we ended up.

Photo credit: ACLU of New Mexico

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  • bgrkls

    Yeah, Doña Ana County Clerk, Lynn Ellins, is male. He issued marriage licences on his own: “Her own” is incorrect.

  • hyhybt

    “It was a bumpy ride sometimes, but look at where we ended up.”

    No, no, no. You don’t get to say that until the ride has ended. We know where we’re going, we’ve come far enough to know we’ll get there, but there are plenty of twists and turns left to come we can’t even see all of yet, and surely some bumps as well.

  • Ngocmai

    thanks you for shared

  • CivicMinded

    Don’t give CA too much credit. It was we folks in MA that got it done for everyone. Hawaii wussed out, CA needed two bites at the apple because they couldn’t make it stick the first time.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    SCOTUS is hoping for a Republican President to appoint another ScaliaAlitoRobertsPubicHairOntheCokeThomas before making any marriage equality decisions, hence Citizens United and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. SCOTUS is manipulating the Country with these decisions. The Republicans have some state of the art voter tracking system rolling out for next election cycle. This with the gerrymandering, voter suppression, changing laws to sway the vote their way, and cheating, the Republicans are hoping to take 2016 without having to “re-brand” their exclusionary message. The only way they can stay in power is via underhanded cheating. Presidents come and go, Supreme Court Justices serve for life. When or if SCOTUS manages to line the bench with more conservative Catholics, who want to coerce American citizens to live by their religious beliefs, that’s when marriage equality will be, “decided.”

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