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New Mexico Telegram » Courts, Featured, LGBT » Judge rules Los Alamos County Clerk must issue same-sex marriage licenses

Judge rules Los Alamos County Clerk must issue same-sex marriage licenses

500px-LGBT_flag_map_of_New_Mexico.svgA judge ruled that Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, echoing two other court decisions.

This means a seventh county will be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, four directly with blessing from the courts.

Last week, a court order said Stover must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Stover objected and said she was waiting for guidance from the state Supreme Court or the legislature. Stover was the first clerk to opt to go to court instead of abiding by the court order.

Her bone of contention was that the statute related to marriage licenses has areas for male and female.

“However, I do want to say in closing that this is a legislative problem; forms enacted as state statutes should be changed by the appropriate legislative body, which is our state legislature,” Stover said in a statement Tuesday, the day before the hearing. “I urge the State Supreme Court to take up this matter quickly and to provide guidance to all County Clerks throughout the State.”

Los Alamos County joins Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Taos County as those that are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a court order. Grants County will begin doing so next week.

The county clerks in Doña Ana, San Miguel and Valencia counties have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples without a marriage license. A group of Republican legislators have filed a suit to stop the Doña Ana County Clerk from continuing to do so.

So far, all courts that have weighed in on the issue have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

The issue will likely end up in the State Supreme Court where the state’s high court will have to decide on the issue. It will first go to the appellate level, though it is not immediately clear when this will happen.

Update:

From KOB:

“Each couple means two people, the clerk is required to issue to any two people,” Judge Raphaelson said during the hearing. “The law says the statute trumps the form. I find the clerk has clear duty to issue a license in this case.”

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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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