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New Mexico AG Gary King: Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

StateSealofNewMexicoAnd now for something a little baffling. New Mexico does not have an explicit ban on same-sex marriage in any statute or within its Constitution; however, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King has informed the state’s highest court that he will not defend the prohibition in the state against same-sex marriage. He claims that it is unconstitutional.

King, who is apparently planning to run for governor next year, informed the state’s Supreme Court justices that they should invalidate the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The state is being sued by two Santa Fe men who were denied a marriage license.

King said in a filing that
“New Mexico’s guarantee of equal protection to its citizens demands that same-sex couples be permitted to enjoy the benefits of marriage in the same way and to the same extent as other New Mexico citizens.”

The court had asked King’s office to respond to the lawsuit. So far, no hearing has been scheduled. The suit asks the court to order Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar to issue the marriage license to Alexander Hanna and Von Hudson. Still, King did note that the courts could not order Salazar to issue the license. Only state officials could do that.

Last month, King’s office issued an analysis saying that New Mexican law does not allow for same-sex marriages, but that was nonbinding. New Mexico’s marriage law is gender neutral. The lawsuit states that denying marriage licences to same-sex couples is a violation of the New Mexico Constitution’s prohibition against gender-based discrimination.

Representative Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) is one of the lawyers who brought the lawsuit and stated that his clients agree with the attorney general regarding any prohibition against same-sex marriage should be struck down. Egolf stated “They believe that this is the ultimate issue in the case and hope that Supreme Court will not allow an unconstitutional statute to stay on the books.” HE added that the “Supreme Court has the power to decide this issue once and for all, and that doing so will resolve a matter of great public importance.”

This is just one case involving same-sex marriage before the New Mexican Supreme Court.

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