ALBUQUERQUE, NM, August 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Same-sex “marriage” has come to portions of New Mexico by judicial fiat.
Six of the state's 33 counties – Bernalillo, Doña Ana, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Taos, and Valencia counties – have begun issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples, some after judicial orders and some voluntarily.
However, state law does not provide for same-sex “marriage.” New Mexico is the only state to have no law either allowing or forbidding such unions.
Without a specific law forbidding gay “marriage,” rogue officials began issuing licenses, and activist judges began ruling that the state's commitment to fighting “discrimination” ipso facto legalizes “marriage equality.”
Last Wednesday, Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins decided to begin issuing licenses to gay couples, law or no law. By week's end, 137 couples had received the licenses, which substitute “spouse and spouse” for “bride and groom.”
Attorney General Gary King, a Democrat, said, although the rogue action did not have the sanction of law, he would not put a stop to it.
The next day, District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that Santa Fe County had to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if asked. The county clerk, Geraldine Salazar, supports redefining marriage and offered no objection.
Singleton's ruling was eclipsed on Friday, when District Judge Alan Malott ordered clerks in Bernalillo County and Santa Fe counties to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“Gay and lesbian citizens of New Mexico have endured a long history of discrimination," he wrote in a sweeping opinion. Denying homosexuals marriage rights “continues this unfortunate, intolerable pattern” and inflicts an “irreparable injury.”
Again, no parties objected to the ruling.
ACLU attorney Laura Schauer Ives said the group's lawyers – who filed suit on behalf of six lesbian couples – were “stunned and amazed” by the “monumental” ruling.
The homosexual group Why Marriage Matters NM, responded, “We are so happy for the plaintiffs in the ACLU-NM case and all of the same-sex relationships that will begin to receive the respect that they deserve!”
Then on Tuesday, District Judge Jeff McElroy's ruled that Taos County must also provide marriage licenses to all couples who request them, regardless of their sexual composition, unless the county offered a legal reason not to do so.
County clerk Anna Martinez reportedly celebrated McElroy's decision with the plaintiffs.
Having judicial decrees initiate gay unions county-by-county is "pretty unconventional,” ACLU of New Mexico spokesman Micah McCoy said, but “it will be very useful in arguing the case in other counties where people want to get married.”
This week, Valencia County Clerk Peggy Carabajal and San Miguel County Clerk Melanie Rivera began voluntarily issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Carabajal explained, "We're not going to discriminate against anyone."
The actions have the thinnest veneer of popular support. Doña Ana County commissioners on Tuesday approved a non-binding measure supporting County Clerk Lynn Ellins by a 4-1 vote.
Nonetheless, Governor Susana Martinez, a Republican, has said she will not stop the licenses from being issued, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
“We have become a lawless state here as everybody decides they can create whatever law they want to create, apparently out of thin air,” State Senator William Sharer of Farmington told OneNewsNow.com. “The whole idea of a representative government of the people, for the people, and by the people is gone.”
He plans to lead a legislative coalition in a court battle to stop the clerks' actions. He may face an uphill battle, as the state Supreme Court ruled last week that a Christian photographer had no right to refuse to take pictures of a homosexual “wedding.”
Last week's rogue licenses are not a first in state history. Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap issued more than 60 marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004, before then-Attorney General Patricia Madrid halted the process.
“A county clerk cannot make law,” Sharer said. “That is the legislature’s job.”
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State officials have paved the way for same-sex “marriages” in California and Pennsylvania by refusing to defend existing law. The Obama administration similarly refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.
Now, other state county clerks find themselves caught in the current debate. Lincoln County Clerk Rhonda Burrows said, "It's unfortunately that county clerks have been put in the position of ruling on an issue that should be decided by a court, by the legislature, or by the vote of the people.”
Judge Mallott was appointed by former Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat. Richardson's predecessor, Republican Gary Johnson, also publicly endorsed same-sex “marriage” last year after winning the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination.
But State Senator Sharer notes that the unchangeable definition of marriage predates the history of New Mexico, or the United States.
He posted a lengthy article on his website tracing the history of marriage, from Aristotle and Confucius to Alexander the Great and the Navajos.
“As marriage goes, so go the children, so goes the nation, so goes the world,” he wrote.
The National Organization for Marriage is asking citizens to “contact Gov. Martinez to thank her for her strong support of marriage” and "urge her to intervene in order to restore the rule of law and the rightful definition of marriage in New Mexico.”
Phone: (505) 476-2200
Online contact form: http://www.governor.state.nm.us/contact_the_governor.aspx