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August 23, 2013 Print

New Mexico Attorney General Refuses to Stop Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

by Bethany Monk

The New Mexico Attorney General said it’s “not a good idea” to issue same-sex marriage licenses in the state, but refuses to challenge a county clerk’s decision to do so.

A Doña Ana County Clerk began issuing the licenses Wednesday, even though the state has not created same-sex marriage. Shortly after, Attorney General Gary King said his office will not take any action against the clerk.

“We previously advised that it was not a good idea to issue the marriage licenses to same sex couples due to the uncertain status of state law,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “We do not have authority over county clerks in New Mexico. Our position that the current law is unconstitutional remains unchanged and presents a barrier for us to bring any sort of court action now that would stop him from issuing the marriage licenses.  As the situation evolves, we will determine our response at the appropriate time.”

And on Thursday, District Judge Sarah Singleton said a Santa Fe County Clerk must start issuing the licenses to same-sex couples; if not, the clerk must appear in court next month.

This is the first time in the state’s history that a New Mexico judge has ruled that that couples may receive the licenses.

This ruling came the same day the New Mexico Supreme Court said that a husband-and-wife business must compromise their religious beliefs and photograph same-sex ceremonies.

Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin run Elane Photography in Albuquerque. In 2006, Elaine, refused to use her artistic expression to take pictures of a “commitment ceremony.” A same-sex couple then filed a complaint with the state Human Rights Commission.

Justice Richard C. Bosson claims the decision reflects what “this nation is all about, its promises of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice.”

Bill Redmond, a former Congressman from New Mexico, said he’s not surprised with the ruling, calling the state Supreme Court “pretty far left of center.”

As for King’s refusal to take action against the clerks who are issuing the licenses to same-sex couple, Redmond said the Attorney General has an ulterior motive.

“Gary King is running for governor against Susana Martinez,” said Redmond, CitizenLink national representative for Family Policy Councils. “He has been trying to take a neutral stand on this — not to hurt his chances for running for governor.”

What is happening in New Mexico, and in other states, gives the perception that the American people are moving toward same-sex marriage.

However, these threats to our religious freedom are dangerous for everyone.

“Once religious liberty is threatened, everybody’s liberty is threatened whether they’re a Christian or non-Christian,” Redmond said. “And therein lies the crisis.”

Read “Judge Rules Against Photographers.”

Read the decision in Elane Photography v. Willock.