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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 30
Love in the 'land of enchantment' - New Mexico's AG will not oppose same-sex couple's marriage suit
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Love in the 'land of enchantment' - New Mexico's AG will not oppose same-sex couple's marriage suit

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says he will not oppose a lawsuit filed by a Gay couple asking to be allowed to marry.

The Santa Fe couple, Alex Hanna and Yon Hudson, said they had applied for a marriage license and were turned down by Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar, although New Mexico state law neither authorizes nor forbids same-sex marriage.

INVOKES EQUAL PROTECTION
The New Mexico Supreme Court, which is hearing the case, asked King for his response to the suit as the state's chief legal officer, and on July 22 he replied that he would not oppose the couple's claim.

'New Mexico's guarantee of equal protection to its citizens demands that same-sex couples be permitted to enjoy the benefits of marriage in the same way and to the same extent as other New Mexico citizens,' King wrote in his filing.

He added, however, that he believes the Supreme Court should reject the couple's suit because they had improperly bypassed lower courts.

Last month King's office issued a nonbinding legal analysis claiming that New Mexico law does not allow same-sex marriages, but adding that the law was vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. The state's constitutional definition of marriage does not refer to gender at all, but marriage license applications used by county clerks have spaces to list 'bride' and 'groom.'

LEGAL MARRIAGE THIS YEAR?
Plaintiffs Hanna and Hudson are being represented for free by State Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe), characterized by the Las Cruces Sun-News as 'perhaps the most outspoken New Mexico legislator for Gay marriage.'

'I think this lawsuit is going to result in marriage equality coming to New Mexico this year,' Egolf told the Sun-News.

The ACLU has filed a separate suit on behalf of six same-sex couples, asking the New Mexico Supreme Court to rule that the couples have a right to marry and that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in other states. Attorney General King has not yet filed a response in that case.

King, a Democrat, plans to challenge the incumbent Republican governor, Susana Martinez, in the 2014 election. Martinez, who replaced Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson in 2011, opposes marriage equality and has repeatedly blocked efforts to extend rights to same-sex domestic partners.

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