New Mexico AG Won’t Intervene In Doña Ana County Marriages

Jim Burroway

August 22nd, 2013

As of the close of business yesterday, Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins issued 42 marriage licenses to same-sex couples after announcing that he would begin issuing licenses yesterday morning. State Attorney General Gary King, who had urged county clerks to wait until the courts rule on whether New Mexico’s prohibition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, says that he will not file legal action to stop the issuing of marriage licenses in Las Cruces:

King has said he believes the state Supreme Court would rule state laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples are unconstitutional. Established marriage laws, King said, violate a provision in the New Mexico Constitution that promises equal protection in law, regardless of gender.

…”We feel like our position that the laws aren’t constitutional presents a barrier from us bringing action in that suit,” King said.

“… Here’s a case where we have an obligation to defend the laws of the state of New Mexico to the extent that they’re not unconstitutional, but I have a higher obligation to defend the Constitution,” he said.

Gov. Susana Martinez (R), who opposes marriage equality, has repeated her call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage be put before the voters.

Meanwhile, couples in Las Cruces are celebrating:

Orlando-Antonio Jimenez, 42, of La Mesa said he was watching TV news and learned about Ellins’ decision. He and his partner, K. Grey Carrillo, 46, were soon at the county government center, applying for their license to marry. Jimenez called it a “natural progression to our 13 years together.”

“This is a great day for the state of New Mexico,” he said. “We have a family that now is recognized by the state of New Mexico.”

Added Carrillo: “It’s a great day for equality all the way around.”

Jimenez and Carrillo said they have plans for a large wedding. It likely will happen between three and six months from now, they said.


August 22nd, 2013

Susan Martinez apparently still living in 2004.

Patrick C

August 22nd, 2013

My brother and his partner of 25 years were one of those couples who married yesterday. It has obviously been a very long time in coming.

Timothy Kincaid

August 22nd, 2013

Gov. Susana Martinez (R), who opposes marriage equality, has repeated her call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage be put before the voters.

Not to quibble, but I think what she said was

We need to put it out there for them [voters] to vote so there’s one law that effects everyone within the state

That could be understood to mean a constitutional amendment, but I don’t know that it necessarily does.

Timothy Kincaid

August 22nd, 2013


There are also signs that the political tide may be shifting. Despite her long-professed opposition to same-sex marriage, Governor Martinez has softened her stance, saying voters should be the ones to decide whether to legalize it in New Mexico — “not a court, not politicians in Santa Fe, and not one random county clerk,” as her spokesman, Enrique Knell, put it in a statement on Wednesday.

Jim Burroway

August 22nd, 2013

Abq Journal this morning:

Gov. Susana Martinez, who has voiced opposition to same-sex marriage in New Mexico, repeated her call to put the question to voters in a state constitutional amendment proposal.

“I’ve always been really clear about where I stand in reference to marriage, and that it is between a man and a woman,” Martinez said in a statement Wednesday. “If that should change, that should be a change that is made by the people.”

Timothy Kincaid

August 22nd, 2013

Yes, I saw several sources were assuming that she called for a constitutional amendment. But I can’t find anywhere language that seems consistent.

“If that should change, that should be a change that is made by the people” sounds more like what Chris Christie says (no marriage unless there’s a referendum) than a call for an amendment.

Perhaps she had more than one statement, or perhaps they are only quoting part of what she said. Or, as seems the case as far as I can find, some in the press weren’t paying attention to her language.

The reason I looked this up is because if Martinez is calling for an amendment, she’s not too politically savvy or in line with the rest of her party. The new line is not about banning, but about not allowing marriage equality unless the people affirmatively vote for it.

If you find a quote that seems to be an actual call for an amendment, please link it as I can’t find one.


August 23rd, 2013

Either way,it’s still bigotry.
No other miniority group would have their rights be put up for a vote.


August 23rd, 2013

About time. This isn’t like Pennsylvania: New Mexico doesn’t HAVE a law against gay couples marrying, so there never has been a reason for it not to happen there. (It also means that, even if there eventually is a challenge, the marriages should be much less likely to be voided.)

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