NM County Clerk Who Spearheaded Marriage Equality Charge Donates Leftover Funds to Protect It

In late August, New Mexico's Doña Ana County made history when it began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. County Clerk Lynn Ellins was leading the charge, which engaged other counties until the the New Mexico Supreme Court finally decided the matter.

EllinsIn September, Ellins began raising private donations to help the county cover the cost of its legal fees and the fundraising effort was so successful that there was more cash to spare.

Ellins is now donating that money to a New Mexico group established to protect equal marriage rights, the Las Cruces Sun reports:

Ellins had raised private donations — via a website and at his county office — to pay for his defense in a civil lawsuit brought by opponents of his controversial August decision to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

After paying his legal bill, Ellins estimated a few thousand dollars are leftover. And he said he's giving that money to a campaign called New Mexico Unites for Marriage Equality.

"It's a nonprofit organization that was established the last year to basically protect the same-gender marriage rights," Ellins said.

Ellins' legal expenses tied to the state district court lawsuit totaled nearly $31,759, according to a Doña Ana County news release.