August 30, 2013 Print

County Clerks Seek Marriage Decision

by Bethany Monk

New Mexico county clerks — all 33 of them — have decided to take the definition of marriage to the state Supreme Court.

Even though, the state has not redefined marriage, over the past two weeks, clerks in six counties began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Some did so voluntarily, others after a lower court order. And last week, Attorney General Gary King refused to stop it.

“This is lawlessness brought to new heights,” said Focus on the Family Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht. “No clerk has the legal ‘right’ to issue a same-sex marriage license. Their obligation is to follow the existing law, which limits marriage in New Mexico to one man and one woman.”

King claimed that his office could do nothing to uphold the state’s marriage law.

“We do not have authority over county clerks in New Mexico,” he said in a statement. “Our position that the current law is unconstitutional remains unchanged and presents a barrier for us to bring any sort of court action.”

Earlier this week, King upheld a same-sex marriage license issued in 2004.

Late last week, District Judge Sarah Singleton said a Santa Fe County clerk must start issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

“New Mexico’s marriage laws were written in the 1800s, while it was still a territory,” Hausknecht said. “Every one of those statutes assumes the standard definition of marriage between one man and one woman.  So back then they didn’t think to legislate in anticipation of today’s craziness with regard to same-sex marriage demands.”

As for the attorney general’s decision to not defend the law, Hausknecht said it’s just “merely politician-speak for ‘How can I avoid being blamed?'”

Read “New Mexico Attorney General Refuses to Stop Same-Sex Marriage Licenses.”