Updated: Santa Fe County Clerk to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses today at 2 pm.
“I am a fervent supporter of same-sex marriage in New Mexico and have always believed that the restrictive and antiquated statutes in our State must fall to principles of equal protection embodied in our Constitution," Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar said in a statement today. "I have been frustrated recently wanting to issue licenses but being confronted with long standing statutes that do not permit it. Now that Judge Singleton has ordered me to issue a license to Messrs. Hanna and Hudson on constitutional grounds, I intend to do so and to issue a license to any same-sex couple who desires one and are otherwise qualified. By complying with the Judge’ s order we will be issuing licenses legally and will not continue to use limited county resources on further litigation.”
Couples seeking marriage licenses can come to Salazar's office downtown today. County offices are located at 102 Grant Ave
Salazar's decision to issue the licenses comes after District Judge Sarah Singleton
ordered Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar
to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples
or argue in court next month why she shouldn't do so.
The order caps an intense week of news regarding same-sex issues across New Mexico.
It all began Wednesday when Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins
began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after concluding that New Mexico's state constitution doesn't bar same-sex marriage. That same day, likely Santa Fe mayoral candidate Javier Gonzales announced on a blog that he was gay
Then yesterday, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that
Albuquerque-based Elane Photography
violated the state's Human Rights Act by refusing to photograph a gay couple based on religious beliefs. Then Republican legislators announced that they would sue to stop Ellis
from issuing same-sex marriage permits.
And now this.
Salazar, a Democrat, has previously stated her personal support for same-sex marriage
but that she also wouldn't issue marriage licenses
to same-sex couples unless the state Legislature or the court orders her to do so
The issue came to the headlines locally in March when Santa Fe City Attorney Geno Zamora concluded that the state constitution's genderless language already allows same-sex marriages
. Attorney General Gary King
didn't come to that conclusion, but stated earlier this week that he wouldn't interfere with Ellins' actions.
Singleton's decision pertains to a high-profile lawsuit
filed by state Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, on behalf of a local couple. Although Egolf petitioned the state Supreme Court
for relief, this week, the high court declined to hear the case, sending it back to the district court.UPDATE
: at 2:20 pm, Liz Stefanics and Linda Siegel officially became the first same-sex couple to be married in Santa Fe.