Martinez not supporting proposed NM marriage amendment
January 7th, 2014
Gov. Susana Martinez said at a news conference Monday that she won’t push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in New Mexico in the upcoming legislative session.
Asked whether that meant she wouldn’t push for the Legislature to pass a measure like Sen. Bill Sharer’s Senate Joint Resolution 6, Martinez responded, “It’s the law of the land. The Supreme Court has spoken.”
In truth, Martinez is probably delighted at her good fortune. Martinez knows that marriage equality is an unavoidable eventuality but that advocacy on either side by a moderate Republican has either a short term or long term price tag.
Before the state Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could marry, she mostly avoided the controversy by saying that any change in the marriage law should be brought about by a vote of the people and changed the subject. But now that the courts have brought about marriage equality – without any political cost to Martinez – she sees the contentious issue in her rear view mirror and is stepping on the gas.
Roosevelt NM County Clerk resigns
December 20th, 2013
Over next to Texas on the eastern edge of New Mexico is Roosevelt County, about 2,500 square miles of peanuts, Eastern New Mexico University, and not a whole lot else to say for it. But now it has two celebrities. (ABC)
Roosevelt County manager Charlene Webb confirmed that Clerk Donna Carpenter and Deputy Clerk Janet Collins announced their resignations Friday morning.
Webb declined to say why they quit. But county commissioners said it was in protest of Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling declaring it unconstitutional to bar same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses.
Commissioner Bill Cathey said the two had made it clear they would quit “rather than be associated with that.”
If they can’t bring themselves to “be associated with that”, then I respect their decision. If you can’t do the job, step aside so someone else can.
But should they decide that they are the victims and run to Fox News and the Family Research Council to whine about how their own personal religious beliefs could not be dictated to their neighbors, I’ll not be forgiving.
Gov Martinez blows off anti-gay amendment idea
December 20th, 2013
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, a Republican, stayed mostly out of the court battle over marriage. She has not been an ally by any means and has made statements about how “the people should vote”. But her advocacy for “traditional marriage” has been minimal and she’s mostly been invisible on the issue.
Mostly, she’s been ambivalent on same-sex couples. Earlier this year she let a bill die (a pocket veto) that would have added “domestic partner” to an occupational licensing bill for veterans, but said that she would have signed it had it included the federal definition of the term.
In that wake of the marriage decision, a handful of conservative GOP members are making noise about amending the constitution. But it seems Martinez wants no part of the divisiveness that such efforts create. (Fox)
Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican and who has opposed same-sex marriage, said she would have preferred voters deciding the issue rather than the courts. But she urged New Mexicans to “respect one another in their discourse” and turn their focus onto other issues facing the state.
“As we move forward, I am hopeful that we will not be divided, as we must come together to tackle very pressing issues, like reforming education and growing our economy, in the weeks and months ahead,” Martinez said.
New Mexico Supremes rule for marriage equality
December 19th, 2013
The Supreme Court of New Mexico has ruled on the decision of some county clerks to offer marriage licenses: (KOB)
The state Supreme Court declared state marriage laws unconstitutional and upheld New Mexico county clerks’ decisions to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The state Supreme Court will now define “civil marriage” as the voluntary union of two persons to the exclusion of all others. In addition, all rights, protections, and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally to both same-gender and opposite-gender married couples.
We’ll bring you more, as more comes in.
UPDATE: From the Ruling
Prohibiting same-gender marriages is not substantially related to the governmental interests advanced by the parties opposing same-gender marriage or to the purposes we have identified. Therefore, barring individuals from marrying and depriving them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of civil marriage solely because of their sexual orientation violates the Equal Protection Clause under Article II, Section 18 of the New Mexico Constitution. We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law.
UPDATE 2 More:
Because same-gender couples (whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, hereinafter “LGBT”) are a discrete group which has been subjected to a history of discrimination and violence, and which has inadequate political power to protect itself from such treatment, the classification at issue must withstand intermediate scrutiny to be constitutional. Accordingly, New Mexico may neither constitutionally deny same-gender couples the right to marry nor deprive them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of marriage laws, unless the proponents of the legislation—the opponents of same-gender marriage—prove that the discrimination caused by the legislation is “substantially related to an important government interest.”
And here we find that in New Mexico, discrimination against gay people must be held to “intermediate scrutiny”, a higher level that generally assumes that discrimination against gay people is at least somewhat likely to be unconstitutional.
I don’t yet see an effective date, so I assume this is law immediately.
The Ruling was unanimous.
It’s been a good year for marriage. In 2013, the number doubled from 8 states plus the District of Columbia to the new total: 17 states plus DC.
New Mexico Supremes to hear case October 23
September 7th, 2013
The New Mexico Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide once and for all whether same-sex marriage should be legal statewide after several counties recently began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, prompting a legal challenge.
Stepping into an intensifying debate over same-sex marriage in a state where such unions are neither expressly recognized nor prohibited by law, the high court set a hearing for Oct. 23 to consider a request from all 33 counties statewide to settle the matter.
New Mexico GOP reps. file lawsuit opposing equality
September 4th, 2013
As Jim told you, it’s now a total of eight equality counties in New Mexico. And cuz I like visuals, here’s the map.
Last Friday, as promised, several GOP legislators joined Sen. Bill Sharer in suing the county clerk of DoÃ±a Ana County. Although he had claimed support from two dozen fellow Republican legislators, only 7 were part of the original filing. Yesterday another 8 joined.
On Tuesday, as opponents of gay marriage sought to stall momentum toward allowing gay marriage across the state, eight Republican lawmakers joined in a lawsuit filed on Friday by seven other Republican lawmakers against the DoÃ±a Ana clerk.
“It’s really a separation of powers issues,” said Rep. Paul Bandy, who Tuesday joined the case filed in district court. “I don’t think the county clerk has the power to make this decision.”
I find it fascinating how far the dialog has shifted on this issue in just a few short years. Missing (other than on Sen. Sharers site of delusional rants) are the appeals to morality and God. Even tradition seems to have dropped from public discussion, leaving Bandy to try and sell his opposition as separation of powers.
And, as of today, only 15 of the GOP’s 47 New Mexico lawmakers have attached their name. That isn’t to say that more – or maybe all – of them will do so, but it does suggest that Sharer is finding that fewer Republicans than he predicted have rushed to add their name to what is likely to be the wrong side of history.
Meanwhile, all of the state’s county clerks have appealed the decision by Judge Malatt to require Bernalillo County Clerk to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and requested that it be heard by the Supreme Court. This does not reflect their political views; some support equality, some do not. But they are all joining the appeal so as to have a state-wide uniform ruling that (since they are all appellants) impacts all counties the same way. County clerks like that sort of thing.
Two More New Mexico Counties Join the Marriage Equality Bandwaggon
September 4th, 2013
Silver City, New Mexico, located in the southwestern corner of the state, is another of those charming former mining communities turned gay-friendly arts destinations which are so delightfully common in parts of New Mexico and Arizona. This morning, Grant County Grant County Clerk Robert Zamarripa said his office will comply with a court order to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning on Monday.
In a separate case, Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover had announced that she won’t comply with a judge’s order handed down last week that she grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Stover went to court today to ask that the lawsuit put on hold until entire question of marriage equality is addressed by the state Supreme Court. The judge refused her request, and shortly after, a lesbian couple became the first to obtain a marriage license from Los Alamos County.
Grant and Los Alamos Counties join Taos, San Miguel (Las Vegas), Valencia (Albuquerque suburbs), Bernalillo (Albuquerque), Santa Fe and DoÃ±a Ana (Las Cruces) Counties in providing marriage equality. Altogether, marriage equality is available in eight of New Mexico’s twenty-three counties, covering nearly 59% of the state’s population.
Taos makes six
August 28th, 2013
Taos County on Tuesday became the sixth and latest county in New Mexico to allow marriage between same-sex couples.
State District Judge Jeff McElroy ruled Tuesday that Taos County Clerk Anna Martinez must issue a gay couple a marriage license or present a legal argument why she should not.
But we do finally have some word from the GOP legislators fleshing out their plans. They’ve gone from unspecified vague to specifically vague.
Paul Becht, the Albuquerque lawyer for the GOP legislators, said it’s uncertain when and where their lawsuit will be filed. With more counties starting to issue licenses, Becht said, he’s trying to determine where best to file a lawsuit “so we’re not getting scattered results all over the place.”
History lessons from Sen. Sharer
August 27th, 2013
On the website of Senator William Sharer – New Mexico’s equality opponent in chief – the Farmington Republican shares his views on marriage and history.
Archeology shows the importance of the family unit working together as the first and most basic unit of human cooperation. There is overwhelming evidence that the unit of ‘mom, dad and children’ has been encouraged from the earliest pre-written record. The union between one man and one woman was the first and most lasting definition of marriage.
Alexander the Great’s – View of Marriage
Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) married a Bactrian woman – modern day Afghanistan. Alexander may have engaged in homosexual activity, but he married a woman.
He directed his officers to stop “whoring” around and find a local woman to marry.
“It is only through blood relations that hatred and war will end”. In other words, Alexander the Great thought that marriage was about creating and raising the next generation.
This is the reason for Marriage –
The creation and raising of children who have the best chance to grow to be peaceful, responsible citizens.
Well… not exactly. Actually Alexander didn’t “marry a woman”. He married three, Roxana (the Bactrian woman he references), Stateira (daughter of Darius III) and Parysatis (daughter of Artaxerxes III). And though he did father a child, it wasn’t born until after Alexander’s death.
Using Sharer’s example of Alexander, perhaps we can deduce that he really meant to say that “There is overwhelming evidence that the unit of ‘mom, dad, fetus, and dad’s two other wives’ has been encouraged from the earliest pre-written record.”
How do truly stupid people get elected?
San Miguel and Valencia Counties make five
August 27th, 2013
Marriage is breaking out all over New Mexico (kob.com)
Following the actions of three other counties in the state, the Valencia and San Miguel County clerks have decided to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
San Miguel County Clerk Melanie Rivera confirmed she ordered new licenses from the printer, but said she is now issuing “Spouse and Spouse” licenses that have been manually altered starting on Tuesday.
According to Valencia County Clerk Peggy Carabajal, paper stock for the licenses have already been ordered. They plan to change software to print “Spouse and Spouse” instead of “Bride and Groom” as soon as the paper arrives tomorrow morning.
As best I can find, Sen. William Sharer (R – Farmington) has not yet filed his lawsuit to stop the progression of equality in the state. Maybe he’s so busy amending the filing to add new counties that he hasn’t time to get it to court.
But he’d best get his hurry-up boots on if he plans on doing so while he still has a chance; once a movement reaches certain momentum it can be hard to stop.
New Mexico counties grow to three
August 26th, 2013
The number of New Mexico counties offering marriage equality has grown to three. (Star Tribune)
An Albuquerque judge on Monday ordered the clerk of New Mexico’s most populous county to join two other counties in the state in issuing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples.
State District Judge Alan Malott ruled that New Mexico’s constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
(The ruling covered both Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County, home of Albuquerque. However Santa Fe has been complying with a separate judicial ruling requiring equality since Friday).
Predictably, Sen. Bill Sharer, who is leading a group of GOP lawmakers to fight the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was furious. (koat)
“It is up the New Mexico State Legislature, with the consent of the Governor of New Mexico, to make laws and for county clerks and district court judges to abide by them. They do not make the laws. It is inexplicable how a district court just today discovered a new definition of marriage in our laws, when our marriage law has not been changed in over a century,” Sharer said in a statement.
But there’s more than a little irony in Sharer’s statement. Despite what he pretends, the New Mexico State Legislature has no law requiring that clerks discriminate against same-sex couples. There is no “new definition”. The marriage law in New Mexico is not defined to require a man and a woman.
It is true that until fairly recently no one in New Mexico fathomed same-sex couples marrying. But what do you do when an unexpected situation seeks to avail itself of civil law?
Sharer seems to hold an opinion about the role of government that flies in the face of his party’s rhetoric. While most Republicans would claim to believe that freedom is held by the people and that if ‘there ain’t no law against it’ then citizens are free to pursue happiness as they wish. Sharer, on the other hand, seems to believe that the government holds all rights and doles out freedoms according to its whim. He seems to be claiming that unless he and his fellow legislators specifically say you can do something, then it’s against the law.
UPDATE: DoÃ±a Ana, Sante Fe, and Bernalillo Counties are the states three most populated. Between them, nearly half of the state’s residents live in a county in which equality is being honored.
NM GOP Lawmakers Announce Lawsuit To Stop Marriages
August 23rd, 2013
When DoÃ±a Ana County, New Mexico, Clerk Lynn Ellins began issuing licenses to same-sex couples in Las Cruces on Wednesday, the state’s Attorney General Gary King responded by saying that he would not intervene to halt the DoÃ±a Ana County marriages. But a group of Republican lawmakers have now vowed to pursue a legal challenge. Sen. William Sharer (R-Farmington) announced that he would file a lawsuit by the end of the week:
“It has to do with a county clerk cannot make law. That is the Legislature’s job,” said Sharer, who sponsored a constitutional amendment in 2011 to define marriage as between a man and woman.
He said more than two dozen GOP lawmakers have agreed to join the lawsuit. It likely will be filed with the state Supreme Court, but Sharer said lawyers were trying to decide the best legal strategy.
NM judge orders Santa Fe to issue same sex marriage licenses
August 23rd, 2013
District Judge Sarah Singleton issued the order late Thursday to Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar in a lawsuit filed by two Santa Fe men. It 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 Salazar must grant the marriage licenses or appear in court Sept. 26 to tell her why that shouldn’t occur. Salazar didn’t immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.
Should Salazar comply, Santa Fe County will join DoÃ±a Ana County, where the County Clerk yesterday began issuing licenses to same sex couples.
New Mexico AG Won’t Intervene In DoÃ±a Ana County Marriages
August 22nd, 2013
As of the close of business yesterday, DoÃ±a 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.
Las Cruces, New Mexico, Begins Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
August 21st, 2013
DoÃ±a Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins has been mulling the move since June, when New Mexico Attorney General Gary King issued an opinion saying that the state’s practice of banning same-sex marraige was likely unconstitutional, particularly since the wording of the law itself is gender neutral. At the time, King advised County Clerks to continue to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the courts could weigh in on the issue. He then refused to defend the law before the state Supreme Court, which last Friday sent the matter down to local courts to review. That’s when Ellins decided to act:
“That means it could be many months or years before the matter is resolved,” Ellins said. “In the meantime, I am mindful that I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the State of New Mexico as DoÃ±a Ana County Clerk. I am an attorney, and I have read the AG’s opinion, and I find it to be sound. After careful review of New Mexico’s laws it is clear that the state’s marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit DoÃ±a Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. DoÃ±a Ana County is upholding New Mexico law by issuing these marriage licenses, and I see no reason to make committed couples in DoÃ±a Ana County wait another minute to marry.”