Bernalillo County began issuing marriage licenses (at noon, Maggie Toulouse Oliver said early Tuesday afternoon her office had already issued the most marriage licenses in one day since she was in office) after a court order on Tuesday. A ceremony with 12 couples took place on Civic Plaza just after noon.
But three other counties with smaller populations also joined the same-sex marriage license issuance brigade.
Emboldened by a court order in District Court, the clerks in San Miguel and Valencia County announced they would begin issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples.
A writ of mandamus in district court by Judge Jeff F. McElroy allowed the Taos County clerk to issue marriage licenses as well, according to Rep. Brian Egolf.
— Brian Egolf (@BrianEgolf) August 27, 2013
A reporter from the Taos News tweeted that clerk Anna Martinez will not challenge the court order.
— Andrew Oxford (@andrewboxford) August 27, 2013
This means that six of the state’s 33 counties are currently issuing or plan on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Dona Ana County began this process when clerk Lynn Ellins said a review of the law showed that same-sex marriage certificates are legal in the state.
However, it was the ruling of District Judge Sarah Singleton ruling that the Santa Fe County Clerk must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who wished to have them that started the ball rolling last Friday.
Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico, a progressive advocacy group that has pushed county clerks on same-sex marriage, told NM Telegram of how Singleton’s Friday ruling pushed things forward.
“By the time we got to Friday, we were having a conversation with [Bernalillo County clerk] Maggie [Toulouse Oliver] and some other clerks and I think we’re going to keep seeing a lot more of these,” Davis said. “Because now they have something to fall back on.”
Toulouse Oliver also said that Friday’s ruling was a key starting point.
“I think when the District Judge came down on Friday in Santa Fe County, that’s when I realized that there’s a potential for a judicial ruling was probably imminent and that’s when we started putting the wheels in motion,” Toulouse Oliver said of when her office began preparing to issue marriage licenses.
On Monday, Judge Alan Malott ruled that Toulouse Oliver must start issuing licenses to same-sex couples. This emboldened the San Miguel and Valencia county clerks; meanwhile, the District Court Judge in Taos County made his ruling. This is the third such district court ruling in favor of marriage licenses for same-sex couples.