New Mexico’s gender-neutral marriage law does not mean that marriage licenses should be granted to same-sex couples, Attorney General Gary King insists.
King, a Democrat, issued a notice to county clerks on Thursday, during a court battle over whether the law — which doesn’t define marriage between a man and a woman — allows couples to marry, reports The Wall Street Journal
King said his office conducted “extensive research” into the state’s laws and determined “they may limit marriage to couples of the opposite sex,” but the law may be vulnerable to a court challenge.
In March, Santa Fe City Attorney Geno Zamora issued his own written opinion that same-sex marriages should be allowed, and was backed up by Democratic Mayor David Coss.
“All loving, committed couples should have the right to marry regardless of their sexual orientation," Coss said.
However, officials in other parts of the state read the marriage law differently. Five same-sex couples have filed lawsuits in Albuquerque this year after being denied marriage licenses, claiming their constitutional rights were violated.
"I don't believe I have the authority to issue licenses to same-sex couples under current legal constraints," said Maggie Toulouse Oliver, clerk in Bernalillo County, which covers Albuquerque. "It's important for the court to resolve the question of legality."
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