Same-sex marriage in New Mexico

Sandoval County, New Mexico, is another place where the local government has sanctionined same-sex marriages. The reasoning there seems to be a bit different from that in San Francisco and Chicago, though.

From the Albuquerque Journal:

Same-Sex Couples Line Up In Sandoval County To Get Married

By Susan Montoya Bryan
The Associated Press

BERNALILLO, N.M. ? Gay and lesbian couples lined up to tie the knot Friday after the Sandoval County clerk agreed to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Roughly 15 couples had been granted licenses by late morning, the Sandoval County clerk’s office said. A sign-up list for applications had grown to 38 couples, with some waiting in line for in the hall outside the clerk’s office inside a courthouse.

Outside court, two reverends conducted impromptu marriage ceremonies.

Meanwhile, two state senators and the county commissioner called for a quick opinion from the attorney general on whether the licenses were legal.
Among the first to get their license were two women who got married in a brief ceremony in front of the courthouse.

“When we heard the news this morning, we knew we couldn’t wait. We had to come down here,” Jenifer Albright said after she and Anne Schultz, 34, both of Albuquerque, exchanged vows in front of the courthouse.

James Walker and Michael Palmer took extended lunch breaks from work for a moment they said they’d waited 26 years for. The men were married in Toronto last year, but that didn’t give them rights in the United States.

Walker said a marriage certificate from Sandoval County “would give us a lot of rights and benefits that have been denied us as a couple, including the rights associated with property ownership and the rights associated with medical decisions.”

“Look at the sincerity here,” pointing to a pair of women holding hands and exchanging vows, said the Rev. Pearl Gabaldon, who was conducting ceremonies.

County Clerk Victoria Dunlap, a Republican, said Thursday that she was unaware of any laws prohibiting licenses from being issued for same-sex couples. She said she sought an opinion from her county attorney after she got a call earlier this week from someone asking about same-sex ceremonies.

“This has nothing to do with politics or morals,” she told the Albuquerque Journal. “If there are no legal grounds that say this should be prohibited, I can’t withhold it . . . This office won’t say no until shown it’s not permissible.”


Edited to add this, from the Denver Post:

Feb 20, 7:58 PM EST

Some Gay Couples Marry in New Mexico

Associated Press Writer

BERNALILLO, N.M. (AP) — Dozens of gay and lesbian couples arrived in this rural town Friday to get married after a county clerk announced she would grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but the offer was soon revoked.

The Sandoval County clerk’s office granted licenses to 26 same-sex couples before New Mexico attorney general Patricia Madrid issued a late afternoon opinion saying the licenses were “invalid under state law.”

The clerk’s office stopped issuing licenses and told newly wed couples their licenses were invalid. A crowd outside the office reacted with boos and shouts as a deputy clerk read the attorney general’s legal advice.

“This is not OK. We deserve rights,” shouted Carolyn Ford, angrily pointing a finger while holding a bouquet of red and white roses.

More than 60 couples had signed up for applications after county Clerk Victoria Dunlap decided to grant the licenses.

Dunlap said she made the decision after County Attorney David Mathews determined New Mexico law is unclear on the issue. He said state law defines marriage as a contract between parties but does not mention gender.

“It’s going to be across the country and so we wanted to be ahead of the curve,” Dunlap said.

Outside the courthouse, two preachers spent the day conducting marriage ceremonies.

“When we heard the news this morning, we knew we couldn’t wait. We had to come down here,” said Jenifer Albright of Albuquerque, who exchanged vows with partner Anne Shultz.


Things sure changed in a hurry there. But I have a feeling this isn’t quite where that story ends.

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17 Responses to Same-sex marriage in New Mexico

  1. 1
    Gavin says:

    Simply I have grown up in a Republican Family and come to understand some factors in the Republican lifestyle and now I understand that with the President we have now want to bring predice against people who actually love each other. I thought marriage was when 2 people which love each other become one. Why cant this be with gay marriages. And for the main fact is it even our business to say who they can love and not to love. Hell no. THe president lost my vote for his next election because he wants to ban all same sex marriages. I bet if this goes into effect their will be riots by people who want a free world and not a world that is goverened religious ideals and not laws itself. Shame on the president Jackass. He now is a moron in my book.

  2. 2
    Quadratic says:

    Praise be to the republic!

    Even those without basic grammar or punctuation skills have the freedom to call the president a moron.

    At least you capitalized Jackass.

  3. 3
    Darcy says:

    I have quite a strong grasp of basic grammar and punctuation skills, and also find him to be a moron.

  4. 4
    Nikkiru says:

    Thank you, Scott. :)

    Yes, that was my first post. I was actually included as a co-blogger quite a while ago. But while things I’ve written have been posted here, I never got around to posting myself until now.

  5. 5
    Raznor says:

    Hooray for Nikkiru.

    I was kind of taken aback too. Just as I was used to three Alas bloggers here comes a fourth one. Oh well, keep-a-postin’.

  6. 6
    Nikkiru says:

    AAron says:

    “Interestingly, there’s an explicit full faith and credit statute as well – 40-1-4. Massachusetts same-sex marriages would be valid in New Mexico…”

    What about Canadian marriages? Would they be covered under NM’s “full faith and credit” statute?

    I believe Canadian marriages should be covered by treaty. But then, the U.S. was practically founded on treaty violations. So I don’t look for that one to be honored and enforced, so long as the Bigot in Chief is in office.

  7. 7
    Aaron says:

    According to 40-1-4, Canadian same-sex marriages *should* be legal in New Mexico:

    40-1-4. [Lawful marriages without the state recognized.]

    All marriages celebrated beyond the limits of this state, which are valid according to the laws of the country wherein they were celebrated or contracted, shall be likewise valid in this state, and shall have the same force as if they had been celebrated in accordance with the laws in force in this state.

  8. 8
    coyote says:

    i have some pics and a photo essay of the happenings in sandoval county on my blog if anyone is interested..



  9. 9
    shawh hughes says:

    Please tell me what I would need to obtain a marriage license? WE are from Texas and would like to go to New Mexico to be married.

    Good for you New Mexico, we may move there!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. 10
    Raznor says:

    coyote, I’ve already seen those pics through Calpundit and subsequently linked to them from my blog. They make me so happy.

  11. 11
    julie says:

    Minnesota has some sort of “registry” which confers some limited rights to same-sex partners, like hospital visits, but there is an amendment to the state constitution being floated that would ban SSM’s, even though they are already against state law. Even Minnesota has morons apparently…

  12. 12
    ScottM says:

    I don’t know if I simply missed the announcement, but was this nikkiru’s first post? If so, congratulations on your inclusion in Alas.

  13. 13
    Aaron says:

    Yep….here’s the New Mexico statute on marriages:

    40-1-1. [Marriage is civil contract requiring consent of parties.]

    Marriage is contemplated by the law as a civil contract, for which the consent of the contracting parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential.

    No mention of gender at all. And same-sex marriages are not among the kinds of prohibited marriages, such as those between relatives (40-1-7) and those where a party is under 18 without parental consent or under 16, unless one party is pregnant. (40-1-6)

    Interestingly, there’s an explicit full faith and credit statute as well – 40-1-4. Massachusetts same-sex marriages would be valid in New Mexico, but probably not San Francisco ones yet, since the SF marriages are technically invalid (but the invalidity is being challenged).

  14. 14
    PinkDreamPoppies says:

    Hey, cool! We double-posted!

  15. 15
    PinkDreamPoppies says:

    Er, cross-posted. Or, a word like that…

  16. 16
    John Isbell says:

    Rosa Parks just sat in the front of the bus.

  17. This is awesome. If various cities and local governments around the country start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, then it will be harder to stop this movement. Once the licenses are issued, it will be a lot harder for federal or state authorities to nullify them. What will they do – sift through them, find all the people whose names sound like two women or two men, and nullify them? And what about names that are unisex and you can’t tell the gender from the name? I hope this creates such a beaurocratic nightmare that they just decide it is not worth it.

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