Same-sex marriage is a hot button topic of late in New Mexico, thanks to Santa Fe city officials saying that same-sex marriage is legal.
The law itself is ambiguous; New Mexico is one of two states that neither explicitly allows or denies same-sex marriage (New Jersey is the other). Santa Fe’s city attorney Geno Zamora, backed by mayor David Coss and city councilor Patti Bushee, claim that this ambiguity along with the state’s equal rights law means that same-sex marriage would be allowed in the state.
There has been no opinion from the Attorney General or, more importantly, court ruling on this. Which is where McCamley comes in.
“I am extremely proud that Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins asked me to officially request a review of the 2004 AG interpretation to ban same-sex marriage in the state,” McCamley said in a statement. “As Santa Fe City Attorney Geno Zamora recently pointed out, nowhere in New Mexico law is marriage defined as between a man and a women and denying same sex couples the right to officially express their love for one another is blatant discrimination.”
Both McCamley’s request and the letter from Ellins are embedded below.
McCamley as for “An expedited response” to his request because “this issue has great significance to thousands of committed couples in the State of New Mexico.”
King himself supports same-sex marriage and signed onto an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court of the United States to strike down a ban on same-sex marriage.
However, others who personally support same-sex marriage say it isn’t allowed as things currently stand.
Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver says she won’t issue licenses to same-sex couples because of guidance from King’s office.
“While I am personally in favor of same-sex marriage,” Oliver said, “my hands are legally tied at the moment. While I appreciate the Santa Fe city attorney’s legal opinion, it is still just an opinion, and one that conflicts with another legal opinion on the issue. I believe the best solution would be for either the courts or the Legislature to weigh-in and clarify this issue not only for county clerks but also for all those who have a vested interest in this issue.”
A legislative attempt to put language in the state constitution allowing same-sex marriage failed in the House committee process. Similarly, an attempt to explicitly bar same-sex marriage in the state constitution failed — another example of the silence in state law on the question.
McCamley is part of a freshman class of legislators and is one of the more progressive members of the state House.