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Same-sex marriages now happening in New Mexico
August 23, 2013 9:15 PM   Subscribe

This past Wednesday, the Doña Ana County County Clerk in Las Cruces, NM (my hometown!) started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The Attorney General of NM says he won't challenge the move. The Washington Times (I know, I know) has the story. So does the NYT, if you haven't used up all your free articles for the month. Two days later, a District Court judge ordered Santa Fe County to begin issuing licenses to same sex couples. Bit by bit, the 47th state is becoming the 14th state.
posted by hippybear (38 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Turquoise wedding bands for all!
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 PM on August 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Coolness.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:36 PM on August 23, 2013


Here is local coverage from the Santa Fe New Mexican. There is a sidebar with a timeline of same-sex marriage in the state.

People were worried the county clerk in Santa Fe would not hand out licenses, but the article says by his evening 45 same-sex couples had marriage licenses.

With such a strong Catholic presence in the state and a conservative bent to politics in many areas, it will be interesting to see where this all goes.
posted by backwords at 9:36 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Way to go NM!! Think of all the beautiful destination weddings to be had there!
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:42 PM on August 23, 2013


Let's get those petitions going for 2016, regressive dick-wads!

My partner and I are crossing the border into Washington to get married on Saturday. Maybe I can convince him to make a road trip out of it and go to the newest state to approach civility.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:42 PM on August 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


If you do, we'll throw y'all a grand party/meetup!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:59 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


This makes me so happy!

My beloved - if sometimes PAINFULLY ass-backward - state may see marriage equality on the ballot as soon as this year. My community's Pride Fest is tomorrow, I expect this to be quite the topic of conversation!
posted by MissySedai at 10:05 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


MissySedai: "may see marriage equality on the ballot as soon as this year."

Especially cool news. A county clerk's decision or court order is too easily reversed. It'd be great to see this become law in New Mexico.
posted by jiawen at 10:17 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


New Mexico's population has the highest percentage of artists of any of the states. Since artists tend to be open minded and liberal, I'm actually a little surprised it hasn't happened sooner. But in any case, way to go, Land of Enchantment! This Alamogordo High School, Class of '78 graduate is proud of you!

Also, Ruidoso would be a great place for a honeymoon, if anyone's so inclined.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:18 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I followed my future wife to Santa Fe from Austin TX in 1986. Friends of ours who were gay had either followed or preceded us. There is a large liberal and gay population here.

Our city is pretty liberal but it's also very Catholic. I think the Church; as well as the local population, is beginning to realize that gay marriage is not the horrendous evil that has been portrayed in the past.

I'm glad that our County clerks are breaking down these barriers. New Mexico is a beautiful place for weddings… gay and straight. I should know, I had mine here.
posted by jabo at 12:41 AM on August 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I moved from Minnesota (gay marriage legal as of August) to California (gay marriage legal as of June) to Nebraska.

That's right, Nebraska. I'm bringing a revolution with me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:33 AM on August 24, 2013 [25 favorites]


Meanwhile, Jezebel reminds us that "the Supreme Court of New Mexico has ruled that a photography business can't refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding on the grounds that the photographers find same sex marriage so, so, so gross."

From the state's Supreme Court ruling:
On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less.
Well done, New Mexico.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:07 AM on August 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


/me cheers loudly
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:17 AM on August 24, 2013


I think the question at this time is "should New Mexico start building a border fence with Arizona?"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:37 AM on August 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sweet! Can we please quit with the mythology-based laws? This shit is getting seriously tiresome for many of us logic-based folks.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 5:41 AM on August 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


New Mexico? Cool!
I'm sure Arizona is just around the corner!

Yeah.

Any moment now...
posted by markkraft at 6:24 AM on August 24, 2013


Bunny Ultramod, it can't happen a moment too soon.
posted by jepler at 6:24 AM on August 24, 2013


Meanwhile, in California...
posted by markkraft at 6:28 AM on August 24, 2013


Lovely.
posted by rtha at 6:32 AM on August 24, 2013


Great news!
posted by arcticseal at 6:49 AM on August 24, 2013


"And then a wonderful thing happened - why not?"

/Zoidberg

Too bad NM isn't in the 9th Circuit, where the issue has now been settled that once marriages have occurred, no legislative act can strip the right to marriage away again.

On the other hand, this bodes really well for extending that sort of jurisprudence to the 10th Circuit, too! Utah, I'm looking in your direction...!
posted by darkstar at 6:50 AM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


A similar thing's happening in Montgomery County in Pennsylvania - my hometown. The State-level government is Republican-dominated and very socially conservative, but the Attorney General is refusing to defend the PA Defense of Marriage Act, so there's at least some hope that things might get really interesting when it hits the PA Supreme Court.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:24 AM on August 24, 2013


That's right, Nebraska. I'm bringing a revolution with me.

You'll be known as Bunny Weddingseed in the folklore of the future!
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:32 AM on August 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


This made me recall that Doña Ana was the county I did my report on for 3rd grade NM history. I remember nothing from that report. But now I'll remember this.

Awesome news.
posted by PMdixon at 7:52 AM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


A similar thing's happening in Montgomery County in Pennsylvania - my hometown.

It's even spreading out here to Western PA courtesy of Braddock's Mayor Fetterman (previously).
posted by octothorpe at 8:27 AM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The mayor of State College, PA is also performing same-sex marriages.

It seems like even in states where conservatives are in power (Corbett in PA and Martinez in NM) thing are changing. Martinez says that it should not be up to county clerks to decide (although in Santa Fe, a judge ordered the county clerk to do so) and still thinks marriage should be between a man and a woman.

The NM legislative session starts in January. Previous efforts to pass legislation in favor of same-sex marriage haven't passed; maybe this is the year things change.
posted by backwords at 8:56 AM on August 24, 2013


Proud of my home county, and hope the rest of the state follows.
posted by wobumingbai at 9:26 AM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


YAY! The state AG has said he won't fight it, but of course, the GOP is unhappy. I don't think they will win. *crosses fingers*

On television last night, one of the news stations had a story about a clerk hand delivering a license to a couple where one of the partners is very ill. They have children, and the marriage will help if the worst happens. I got all misty-eyed.

The media covering stories like that humanizes the issue, which is so important to getting acceptance.
posted by annsunny at 9:46 AM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It amuses me that in NM, anti-gay marriage forces are all "County clerks can't do this!" and in California, anti-gay marriage forces were all "County clerks can't be forced to do this [issue marriage licenses]!"

I know that there is nuance and legal issues that I'm eliding here, but it's still funny.
posted by rtha at 10:34 AM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


And for those who don't know, this is less straight up civil disobediencey than it would be in other states, as NM is (one of?) the only state(s) not to have passed an explicit ban on same-sex marriages by statue or amendment, while not having explicitly allowed for such either.

Be curious to see what Governor Su-sahna does besides make noises. She wants to be the hispanic Palin, but I think is smart enough to know the gen pub needs some sign of non-sociopathy.
posted by PMdixon at 3:12 PM on August 24, 2013


Yeah, apparently the marriage laws in NM are written in gender neutral language while the actual forms people fill out for marriage licenses are not gender neutral, which leads to a conflict between the actual law and the application of the law. The County Clerk in Doña Ana County decided that, given the way the actual law is written, denying same-sex marriage license would be in violation of other NM laws, like non-discrimination laws and such, so here we are.

It's fascinating, especially with the AG saying he isn't going to pursue any action against counties which do start issuing SSM licenses.
posted by hippybear at 3:33 PM on August 24, 2013


I'm happy that this time* it looks like it will stick, but I'm a bit sad that it looks to be because of political motives. From the NYT piece:
Saying he was upholding New Mexico’s Constitution — amended four decades ago** to guarantee equal rights to all — a county clerk here began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday, magnifying a fight that could become one of the key issues in next year’s elections for governor.
...
During a news conference in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Mr. King, a leading Democratic contender for governor, said he would not challenge Mr. Ellins or any other county clerk who decides to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He warned, however, that the licenses could be invalidated if the New Mexico Supreme Court eventually rules that same-sex marriage is not allowed in the state.
...
There are also signs that the political tide may be shifting. Despite her long-professed opposition to same-sex marriage, Governor Martinez has softened her stance, saying voters should be the ones to decide whether to legalize it in New Mexico — “not a court, not politicians in Santa Fe, and not one random county clerk,” as her spokesman, Enrique Knell, put it in a statement on Wednesday.
So as to not look totally against gay marriage, the current Governor has to "leave it up to the people," and puts a jab in at the various parties who have supported gay marriages this time.* She realizes that to take a hard stance now would give fodder to her competitor.

Also of note, New Mexico legislature has let same-sex union bills have died without action or have been struck down in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013.

* As noted in the NPR coverage of this story, a county clerk did this on her own volition back in 2004, but the 2004 licenses were deemed invalid by the AG at the time.

** I'm not sure what constitutional amendment was passed in the 1970s. Wikipedia notes An Act Relating to Human Rights became effective July 1, 2003, New Mexico law protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity "in matters of employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and union membership." An Executive Order issued by Governor Toney Anaya in 1985 prohibits discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation. But there's nothing listed before that.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:53 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Governor Martinez has softened her stance, saying voters should be the ones to decide whether to legalize it in New Mexico — “not a court, not politicians in Santa Fe, and not one random county clerk,”

If this attitude had been adopted 50 years ago, the civil rights act and the voting rights act would never have passed. The point of having elected officials is so the tyranny of the majority won't stand over and oppress the minority.

We have a representative form of government for a reason, and direct democracy is only a very recent development and is mostly used for nefarious means.
posted by hippybear at 6:09 PM on August 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


>>New Mexico's population has the highest percentage of artists of any of the states
Citation? Yes Sante Fe and Taos have a lot of artists, but the southeast and the northwest have a lot of god-fearing ranchers and oil/gas people.
posted by falsedmitri at 7:21 PM on August 24, 2013


Here's a citation ranking New Mexico #1 for Fine artists, art directors, and animators, at 18.1 per 10,000 people (PDF, from NEA), and New Mexico has more PhDs per capita than any other state, too.

Yes, the composition of the state is an interesting one. There is Albuquerque, with a half million in the city, and 900k in the metro area. Five Thirty Eight had a good write-up on the state last year, showing that in some elections, the votes are pretty well split Dem/Repub.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:55 PM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


hippybear, I agree. She's taking the easy way out, so she can throw her hands up after an election (where there will undoubtedly be a LOT of money thrown into the issue, money that could be used for so many better things, but that's another tangent) and say "look, the people have spoken!"
posted by filthy light thief at 8:57 PM on August 24, 2013


Viva Las Cruces, gonna tie those wedding nooses,
Between the Betties and the Bonnies and the Alexanders and the Bruces...


Lyrics from a song that's bound to become a hit here in Doña Ana county.
posted by Killick at 9:43 AM on August 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Latest news adding Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties to the list!
posted by annsunny at 10:09 PM on August 26, 2013


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