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.
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.
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