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New Mexico Telegram » Courts, Featured, LGBT » Same-sex marriages in Bernalillo County will begin tomorrow

Same-sex marriages in Bernalillo County will begin tomorrow

500px-LGBT_flag_map_of_New_Mexico.svglgbtFollowing a ruling by District Court Judge Alan Malott, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Toulouse Oliver said her office would need to get software ready to make the weddings happen, so weddings will begin at 8:00 am tomorrow.

A mass-wedding at Albuquerque Civic Plaza is expected at noon tomorrow.

This is the second time a district court judge had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

District Judge Sarah Singleton ordered the Santa Fe County clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday. That was the first time a district court judge had made such an order.

Malott ruled, “There is no benefit to the parties or the public interest in having this matter progress through a lengthy path of litigation while basic constitutional rights are compromised or denied on a daily basis. Accordingly, the Court finds Plaintiffs have established both that they face imminent and irreparable injury and lack a speedy or adequate remedy at law.”

The full ruling is available at the bottom of the post.

He also ruled that there would be “little or no impact” on the defendants.

Malott cited the fact that New Mexico law does not expressly prohibit the issuance of marriage licenses “on the basis of sexual orientation or the gender of its members.”

He ruled that the adoption of an anti-discrimination constitutional amendment “clearly prohibits such discrimination against same sex applicants.”

State Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington, opposed the ruling.

Sharer said Malott and Stapleton “usurp[ed] the legislative function by some district court judges in regards to marriage in the state.”

“It is up the New Mexico State Legislature, with the consent of the Governor of New Mexico, to make laws and for county clerks and district court judges to abide by them,” Sharer said. “They do not make the laws.”

Sharer and at least two dozen Republican legislators had said they would seek to stop same-sex marriages from happening after Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins began issuing licenses.

However, the ruling by Singleton, and subsequently Malott, changed the timing on it.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico brought the case to the court.

‚ÄúThis is a great day to be a resident of New Mexico,” ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson said in a statement. “Our state is now on the brink of joining the growing list of states who live and honor the values of family, liberty and love. Every family in this state is made richer by this step toward justice for all.”

Toulouse Oliver is a supporter of same-sex marriage, but had said she would not issue licenses without guidance from the courts.

“I’m very happy and proud to finally be issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples in Bernalillo County,” she said in a statement following the ruling.

By Tuesday, the three most populous counties in the state will be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Two of them will be issuing marriage licenses following a court order.

In 2004, the Sandoval County Clerk began issuing marriage licenses. A total of 64 couples were married, but then-Attorney General Patricia Madrid said the clerk must stop and was backed up by a court order.

Bernalillo County Same Sex Marriage Ruling Malott by Matthew Reichbach

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Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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One Response to "Same-sex marriages in Bernalillo County will begin tomorrow"

  1. Lschaffer says:

    You go Alan Malott! The right thing to do.