Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington, and more than two-dozen Republicans in the state legislature will move to block same-sex marriages from happening, the Associated Press reports.
The move comes even as the state Attorney General and Gov. Susana Martinez have made no move to block the actions.
The Attorney General maintains that a same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, but has advised that county clerks not issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples. Martinez has said that the voters should decide whether or not same-sex marriage should be legal in the state.
From the Associated Press:
It has to do with a county clerk cannot make law. That is the Legislature’s job,” said Sharer, who sponsored a constitutional amendment in 2011 to define marriage as between a man and woman.
He said more than two dozen GOP lawmakers have agreed to join the lawsuit. It likely will be filed with the state Supreme Court, but Sharer said lawyers were trying to decide the best legal strategy.
Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins began issuing licenses yesterday after examining the law and saying that nothing in the law prevents same-sex couples from getting married.
County clerks have been stopped from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because marriage certificate forms have space for male and female.
Besides that, New Mexico is one of just two states that don’t specifically allow or forbid same-sex marriage.
So far, according to a KDBC reporter, over 80 same-sex couples have received marriage licenses over the past two days.
#DonaAnaCounty Clerk's Office issued 40 marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the second day. 42 issued yesterday.
— Juan Gutierrez (@JuanL4N) August 22, 2013
There are two lawsuits in district court seeking to make same-sex marriage explicitly legal in the state.
One is from the ACLU of New Mexico, which said in a statement that they believe the best avenue for same-sex marriage legalization is through the court system.
“We agree that it’s unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the ability to marry in New Mexico,” said ACLU-NM Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives in a statement on Wednesday. “We understand the urgency same-sex couples in New Mexico feel to get married. At the same time, we want to be sure that same-sex couples understand that we will not have certainty until our state courts have the opportunity to weigh in on the issue. The best way to ensure that the licenses issued today in Doña Ana County provide the lasting legal protection that same-sex couples need is for our state courts to move expeditiously to guarantee the freedom to marry for all New Mexicans.”
This is not the first time that a county clerk issued marriage certificates for a same-sex couple. In 2004, a Republican County Clerk issued marriage certificates for 8 hours. That time, 64 couples received their marriage certificates. Then-attorney general Patricia Madrid shut it down.
But as Stateline reported earlier this year, “To this day, no court has ruled definitively on whether Dunlap was correct to issue the licenses or, perhaps more importantly, whether they could be issued again.”