Attorney General Gary King said in a news conference Thursday that he does not believe that same-sex marriage is allowed by current New Mexico law, though said his office would not be issuing an official opinion because of pending litigation.
“We cannot state definitively that state law allows same sex marriage,” King said in his news conference.
King says that just because some statutes are gender neutral, that does not mean that same-sex marriage is necessarily allowed in the state. He said, however, that “We feel like there is a significant issue relating to our equal protection cause” and sounded generally positive about a legal challenge.
He also said that if he had the power to change the law, he would. But he said it would have to wait until the courts or the state legislature weighed in on the issue.
This comes despite King’s own personal belief that same-sex marriage should be allowed.
“This is an issue of human rights and civil rights,” King said.
King also said that his advice to county clerks was to continue to avoid issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples. The county clerks have not been issuing certificates because the forms include space for a man and a woman.
The issue was not binding to the county clerks, as King noted he has no superintending power over the county clerks to tell them what to do. He also said he does not suggest that the counties each have different policies on same-sex marriage.
King said there was no pressure to issue an opinion, because there is a policy against issuing an opinion when there is a case in front of the courts. King was citing the lawsuit against the Bernalillo County clerk’s office for not issuing marriage certificates to two same-sex couples.
When asked why he had held the press conference, King said, “I think what were doing today is moving the conversation forward.”