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Santa Fe Approves Resolution Urging Clerks to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples: VIDEOS


A standing-room-only crowd at Santa Fe's City Council meeting last night erupted in cheers after officials voted 5-3 to support a non-binding resolution supporting marriage equality and encouraging county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

2_santafeThe Santa Fe New Mexican reports:

The Santa Fe Fire Department had to bar the doors before the meeting started, leaving many to watch the proceedings from the hallway. Many in attendance wore red to symbolize their support for marriage equality. Others sported yellow stickers, representing the Equality New Mexico organization, or pink felt hearts that said “All Families Matter.” A smaller group held pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe or wore stickers that said “Life and Family are Sacred.” No public testimony was permitted before the vote...

...The resolution urges both the attorney general and county clerks to recognize that state law already allows the freedom to marry, regardless of gender, Zamora said.

Peter Ives and Bill Dimas, who abstained, both cited their Catholic faith in comments before the roll call and said they do not believe the council has standing to make a policy on the issue. The third “no” came from Councilor Chris Rivera, who said his vote was partly based on believing in “traditional families with traditional values.”
Councilors Ron Trujillo and Carmichael Dominguez, both members of local Roman Catholic parishes, voted in favor of the resolution.

Watch a video of the vote and news reports, AFTER THE JUMP...

The vote comes after last month's declaration by Mayor David Coss that same-sex marriage is legal in the state, an opinion backed by the City Attorney. At that time, Coss announced that the resolution voted on last night would be introduced.

Continue reading "Santa Fe Approves Resolution Urging Clerks to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples: VIDEOS" »

Here's Santa Fe Mayor David Coss's Press Conference Announcing Gay Marriage is Legal in New Mexico: VIDEO


Yesterday I reported on an announcement by Santa Fe, New Mexico Mayor David Coss that same-sex marriage is legal in his state in advance of an opinion prepared for his City Council.

Here's video of Coss's press conference yesterday, along with Councilor Patti Bushee and City Attorney Geno Zamora.


Coss says he has a gay daughter and wants to see her walk down the aisle.

ZamoraSaid Zamora:

"Currently, today, under the existing laws on the books...same-sex marriage is legal. This argument consists of four points. First and most importantly, New Mexico does not define same-sex marriage  as a marriage between a man and a woman. These statutes define it as gender neutral between two parties. Secondly, New Mexico validly recognizes same-sex marriage from other states. Third, under New Mexico statue, a marriage license is not permitted to be denied based on the sex of the couple...Finally, we have a New Mexico constitution that guarantees equal rights on the basis of sex. To deny equal rights to same-sex partners is to violate the New Mexico constitution. Same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico. It's legal for our brothers and sisters, for our parents, for our nephews and nieces, and for our friends."


The Washington Blade spoke with Coss yesterday:

This action from city officials comes more than two years after an opinion from state Attorney General Gary King stating same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico. However, his opinion does not have the force of law.

Coss said he expects the resolution and opinion will mostly go before district court, then to the New Mexico Supreme Court for a final resolution.

“If the Supreme Court agrees with us, then that’ll take us to New Mexico being the 10th state to recognize same-sex marriage,” Coss said.

It wouldn’t be the first time county clerks in New Mexico began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Continue reading "Here's Santa Fe Mayor David Coss's Press Conference Announcing Gay Marriage is Legal in New Mexico: VIDEO" »

Santa Fe Mayor Says Gay Marriage Legal in New Mexico, Encourages County Clerks to Issue Licenses

Santa Fe's Mayor David Coss is declaring same-sex marriage legal in New Mexico in an opinion prepared for his City Council, and urging County Clerks to issue licenses:

CossMayor David Coss and Councilor Patti Bushee announced today that they are sponsoring a Resolution expressing support for gay marriage in New Mexico and encouraging County Clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Resolution will be introduced at the next City Council meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, March 27.

Said Coss: “Santa Fe is a city of respect, acceptance, and diversity that embraces all of our residents. I sponsored this resolution because all loving, committed couples should have the right to marry regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Added Bushee: "It is disheartening to me to be creating laws for my community for 19 years and not be treated equally in the eyes of New Mexico law. We are the last group allowed to be legally discriminated against. This is a civil rights issue--it's time for Santa Fe to lead the way."

Said Geno Zamora, City Attorney: “Marriage law in New Mexico is gender-neutral and does not define marriage as between a man and a woman. New Mexico already recognizes valid marriages performed in other states between same-sex couples; it would violate our state’s constitution to deny equal rights in our own families.”

NewmexicoThe press release continues:

In a written opinion, dated March 19, 2013, City Attorney Geno Zamora discusses the fact that New Mexico’s statutory definition of marriage is gender-neutral and does not define marriage as between a man and a woman. Nor does New Mexico law prohibit same-sex marriage.Therefore, same-sex couples are capable of contracting within the law and capable of marrying in the State of New Mexico.

City Attorney Zamora’s memo references nine states and the District of Columbia, which all issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples: Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Another group of states constitutionally or statutorily defines marriage as between a man and a woman. New Mexico law does not speak directly to same-sex marriage.

Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed adds:

Geraldine Salazar, the Santa Fe County clerk, told BuzzFeed that she personally supports allowing same-sex couples to marry but does not believe she has the authority to issue such licenses at this time.

"He's the city attorney. I have a county attorney who I seek legal counsel from. In addition to that, the city attorney is not the attorney general. I, as a county clerk, do not have the authority in my eyes and in my interpretation and in my counsel. In my mindful process of this whole thing, I don't have the authority — and why should I do it for a few hours when really we should have solid laws benefiting all citizens of the state of New Mexico?" she noted.

As for New Mexico's attorney general, Gary King, his spokesman said Tuesday that he has not yet announced any public view on the question.

"AG King has not had an opportunity to weigh-in on the specific question of whether same sex marriages are legal under New Mexico law. It is likely, however, that we will soon receive a request for a formal Opinion on the issue," King's communications director, Phil Sisneros, told BuzzFeed Tuesday afternoon. Sisneros added that the city attorney's opinion "does not carry the force of law, although it is obviously what the city's official legal position is on the issue."


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