Some people in New Mexico have decided not to wait for the state’s Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriages. Instead, Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellnis began issuing licenses to same-sex couples at 8am Wednesday morning.
ProgressNowNM stated that they “couldn’t be happier for the couples in Doña Ana County – and those across the state who will soon, no doubt, make their way there – who have waited far too long for public sentiment and political courage to evolve far enough to publicly acknowledge their relationships as being just as equal as that of their neighbors.”
New Mexico lacks an explicit ban on same-sex marriages. Like Vermont prior to 2000, the state’s marriage law also does not include any language restricting the genders or sexes of the people involved.
According to ProgressNowNM, people must appear at the clerk’s office during business hours with proof of age and identity and pay the normal fine before getting married by anyone certified to perform marriages in the state.
The state’s Supreme Court has been asked to rule on whether or not same-sex marriages are legal in the state without it making its way through the courts. The issue has been so muddled that the Attorney General of the state has refused to say whether or not they are legal, in his opinion, but AG King has said that he does support same-sex marriage.
If New Mexico does have same-sex marriages, it would be the fourteenth in the nation to allow them, and the first to not require a law explicitly stating that same-sex marriages are legal. The recent US Supreme Court decision upholding the ruling by Judge Vaughn Walker in the Prop 8 case resulted in California being returned to the list of states to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.
Minnesota was the most recent to pass a marriage equality law through the state’s legislature. Illinois is currently arguing over theirs.