New Mexico Judge Orders Santa Fe Clerk to Start Issuing Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples

Just days after a Doña Ana County Clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a New Mexico judge has ordered Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar to do the same, the AP reports:

SingletonThe order late Thursday from District Judge Sarah Singleton (pictured) comes in a lawsuit by two Santa Fe men and represents the first time a New Mexico judge has ruled that gay and lesbian couples can be married, said state Rep. Brian Egolf, a lawyer representing the couple.

Singleton said Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar must grant the marriage licenses or appear in court Sept. 26 to tell her why that shouldn’t happen. Salazar did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.

Egolf said Friday the ruling could help speed a resolution of the gay marriage issue in the state.

Approximately 90 same-sex couples have already received licenses in Doña Ana County, where the city of Las Cruces is located. A group of Republican lawmakers is planning a lawsuit to stop the clerk from handing them out.

The AP adds:

Singleton, in her order, said that “reading a sex or sexual orientation requirement into the laws of New Mexico violates the state constitution, which mandates that ‘equality of rights under law shall not be denied on account of the sex of any person.’”


  1. Francis #1 says

    This is awesome news. Here we have a lower court judge in New Mexico stating matter-of-factly that not allow same-sex couples marriage in New Mexico goes against it’s constitution. With this decision, Dona Ana issuing marriage licences, with a lawsuit from the GOP in New Mexico incoming to the Supreme Court, they can’t ignore the question of marriage equality in the state anymore. It’s time for New Mexico’s Supreme Court to answer one way or another whether or not the state statutes allow same-sex couples the ability to marry.

  2. Chuckles says

    The headline is a bit misleading. It’s issue licenses or explain why not.

    The clerk in question has said she was waiting for a court to tell her what to do so we’ll see soon enuf.

  3. Francis #1 says

    What’s interesting is, Judge Singleton has basically stated there is NO restriction in New Mexico’s state laws barring same-sex couples from marriage. Then you have Gary King, who says state laws do NOT allow same-sex marriage, but that such language is unconstitutional. Then you have the state GOP that says that this is a legislative issue and that the state laws don’t allow same-sex marriage and the issuing marriage licences in Dona Ana is not legal.

    Those are three completely different positions, but what’s important is the court ruling went in our favor. The state Supreme Court pretty much has to step in now somehow.

  4. woody says

    The turn of events in New Mexico really is fascinating. Aside from the states where gay marriage is legal, it’s the only state in the country with no laws against gay marriage. So, for all practical purposes it’s legal for gay people to marry in New Mexico. The more people marry, the harder this will be to turn back. And if the feds recognize those marriages for federal benefits, it will be even harder to turn back. I don’t know, but New Mexico is feeling like the point of no return for gay marriage. You should have been busier there, Brian Brown. Santa Fe is looking to be your Waterloo.

  5. Mary says

    Woody, I completely disagree. If anything, NOM will be strengthened by this ruling, as well as yesterday’s ruling about the wedding photographer. The message people are getting is that NOM was right when it said that “unelected judges” would make unpopular decisions and “force gay marriage (and its consequences) on the public.”

    Public opinion already shows that most people don’t believe anyone has to provide a service for a gay wedding. And even WITH SSM being voted on by legislatures and in referenda, we still see the Left using the Courts to circumvent the people’s will. Now we will hear predictions that homeschoolers will be jailed, religious schools will be forced to prove they are “tolerant”, and that there is a secret plan to deny tax exemption to churches. This last claim can’t even be called hysteria, as we hear calls for this repeatedly on Towleroad. The gay rights cause seems hell-bent on taking the road feminists took in the 1970’s. The sad thing is that the lack of patience being shown here and the disrespect for political/cultural reality will lead to mini-backlashes and the LGBT people of the future will be made to pay Sad, as these future citizens will be totally without fault, and will still be fighting homophobia to an extent.

    I actually agree that you should serve gay people and their weddings. But I’d rather have some inconsistency for a while if it gives the public a chance to get used to gay equality. You will need goodwill later on when the gay rights cause loses steam due to being seen as “yesterday’s trendy cause.” The time to start building that goodwill is now.

    Just my opinion, of course!

  6. Francis #1 says

    Most people don’t care about same-sex marriages, Mary, or really anything that’s happening out of New Mexico. People have their own lives they’re dealing with. Sure, most do believe religious entities should be able to discriminate, but they are wrong and have been ruled as such so what they think is irrelevant. It’s about equality, not approval.

  7. Francis #1 says

    Marriage licences are gender neutral. The actual state statutes aren’t gender neutral, they do have gendering language that explicitly say wife/husband. That’s why Gary King said he didn’t believe marriage equality was legal under New Mexico state law as it currently stands. That’s why until this week New Mexico county clerks didn’t issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. It actually isn’t as clear as some have said it is. The New Mexico Supreme Court has to answer the question to resolve the issue.

  8. Mary says

    Yes, Johnny I know. But it’s better to hear the truth now than face setbacks later. I’ve lived along enough to know when a social movement is getting overconfident. There are benefits to being 52 and having read extensively from different political perspectives over the years – as well as having been on both sides of this issue at one time or another.

    All political movements need “Debbie Downers” to curb the excessive idealism that can result in disaster.


  9. Icebloo says

    Great news in our favor but then the Republicans step in to to say they are going to attempt to stop this progress.

    Come on GRUBS (gay Republicans) make me laugh – tell me again how your own party doesn’t hate you ?

  10. Mary says

    “Sure, most do believe religious entities should be able to discriminate, but they are wrong and have been ruled as such so what they think is irrelevant.”

    Not if this influences them to vote for more Republicans and/or homophobes who will block continued progress on gay rights. Not if it causes them to switch the TV channel when a show comes on that features a gay couple, saying “I’m tired of gay people trying to force me to accept their lifestyle. I don’t want to look at them anymore..”

    These are developments that no Court, however progressive, can prevent.

  11. says

    Ah, Mary, I wasn’t born yesterday, either, and I’ve been involved with the marriage equality movement way longer than you have, and you’re not telling any truth. NOM’s bluster amid all the losses for their side is just that–bluster. If equality comes soon to NM, which it may, there will be a little pushback and then all but the zealot-ty few will go right on with their lives.

    You’re mistaking the dinosaur’s last gasp for the lion’s mighty roar.

  12. Francis #1 says

    49 marriage licences were issued in Sante Fe today! This weekend is shaping up to be an awesome wedding weekend in Sante Fe, couples are coming from Texas, and Colorado to marry. Very exciting times!

  13. Steve Talbert says


    and FYI.. “unelected” judges ARE ELECTED AND VOTED INTO OFFICE. these NOM people and religious nuts should homeschool less.

  14. Steve Talbert says


    and FYI.. “unelected” judges ARE ELECTED AND VOTED INTO OFFICE. these NOM people and religious nuts should homeschool less.

  15. Koskalaka Maricón says

    Thank goodness that, when it comes to having a spine with regard to public policy and doing the right thing (or at least not preventing the right thing from happening), that there ARE legislative, executive AND judicial powers. WHEW! If I *could* make trips in a “way-back-machine,” one of those first voyages would be to return to the time of this nation’s founding gents and to give each of them a big wet one on the mouth, if only for this ingenious organizational aspect of the USA’s national and state governments.

  16. Mary says

    I’m not any kind of homophobe. And by the way, I know who you are “two dads.” You don’t own Towleroad. Unless you are speaking as a representative of Andy Towle, you have no authority over who posts here.

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