New Mexico Attorney General Will Not Defend State's Gay Marriage Ban
Following a lawsuit filed in June by a gay couple in New Mexico challenging the state's ambiguous law that seemed to ban gay marriage, state Attorney General Gary King has said the state Supreme Court should allow gay couples to marry, The Miami Herald reports:
"King, a Democrat who plans to run for governor next year against Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, said New Mexico law effectively doesn't allow gay marriages although there's no statutory provision that specifically prohibits, or authorizes, gay couples to be married.
"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 said in the filing."
New Mexico's Supreme Court had previously asked King to weigh in on the matter though it is uncertain how the court will ultimately rule. Complicating the matter is the fact that King, while arguing for equal rights also argued that the court should reject the petition filed by Alexander Hanna and Von Hudson, the couple seeking a marriage license denied to them by a county clerk, because the court doesn't have the authority to "issue such an order involving a county official — only state officers, boards and commissions":
"King said if the court granted the request by the Santa Fe couple it would set a precedent that could overload the justices with requests for similar orders "concerning any dispute a party has with any local or county official," such as county tax assessment protests and local zoning disputes."
The couple who filed the petition with the court, however, remain optimistic. State Rep. Brian Egolf, who represents the couple, spoke on their behalf:
"They believe that [the same-sex marriage prohibition] is the ultimate issue in the case and hope that [the] Supreme Court will not allow an unconstitutional statute to stay on the books," said Egolf, who unsuccessfully pushed a proposed constitutional amendment in this year's Legislature to legalize gay marriage"