New Mexico attorney general issues no formal opinion on same-sex marriage

Monday, June 10, 2013 - 5:40pm

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King did not issue a formal opinion on the issue of same-sex marriage licenses in the state.

The Santa Fe city attorney had issued a memorandum to county clerks statewide telling them that same-sex marriage was legal under current New Mexico law.

"We did not receive any guidance from the attorney general and being that there are two lawsuits pending, for the time being I will not be taking any action," said Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins.

Ellins had said previously he would have no problems issuing same-sex marriage licenses if the attorney general determined it would be legal.

In his summary, King wrote there are some areas where the terminology is gender-neutral but said that looking at the whole picture the statute appears to be intended to limit marriage to only opposite-sex couples, but cannot say definitively.

He added the statute might not necessarily hold up as constitutional because it could be argued that it violates equal protection clauses.

"I happen to agree that he is correct in his analysis of the statute," Ellins said.

Ellins said the statute does not permit the marriage of people of different genders but he also agreed with King's theory that the statute is unconstitutional.

As is normal practice by the attorney general, King does not typically issue formal opinions on topics with pending lawsuits.

There is a lawsuit in Bernalillo County and another in Santa Fe for the issuance of same-sex licenses.

Ellins said he has had no requests for same-sex marriage licenses in Dona Ana County.


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