2nd NM County Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
The county clerk in the state capital and the heart of this state’s gay rights movement on Friday began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a court-ordered move that came just two days after a county clerk in southern New Mexico decided on his own that recognize gay marriage.
Under orders from a judge overseeing a lawsuit by two Santa Fe men trying to get married, County Clerk Geraldine Salazar began issuing licenses to same-sex couples shortly after 1: 30 p.m.
The first same-sex couple to get a license in the state’s third-largest county was Santa Fe County Commissioner Liz Stefanics and Linda Siegle, a lobbyist for Equality New Mexico, a gay rights group. Stefanics is a former Democratic state senator from Santa Fe.
Also receiving a license were the two men who filed the lawsuit that resulted in the court order directing the clerk to issue licenses - Alexander Hanna and Yon Hudson.
The order late Thursday from District Judge Sarah Singleton in their suit represents the first time a New Mexico judge has ruled that gay and lesbian couples can be married, said state Rep. Brian Egolf, a lawyer representing the couple.
Singleton said Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar must grant the marriage licenses or appear in court Sept. 26 to tell her why that shouldn’t happen. Salazar did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.
Egolf said Friday the ruling could help speed a resolution of the gay marriage issue in the state.
"This will be the first time a court anywhere in New Mexico ... has ordered same-sex couples to be married," said Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat who unsuccessfully pushed in the Legislature for a constitutional amendment to legalize gay marriage.