US: Republican lawmakers consider legal action over New Mexico county issuing same-sex marriage licences
Republican lawmakers in the US state of New Mexico have said they are considering legal action over a judge’s decision to make a broad ruling that same-sex couples should not be excluded from being issue marriage certificates.
The New Mexico constitution does not expressively prohibit same-sex couples from marrying but no recognition of same-sex relationships previously existed within the state.
State District Judge Alan Malott handed down the ruling on Monday, which stated that equal marriage should be made legal, as he ruled that prohibiting same-sex marriages is a form of sexual discrimination.
The county clerk for Doña Ana County, Lynn Ellins, released a statement last Wednesday saying that New Mexico’s marriage laws were “gender neutral” and to ban same-sex couples from marrying violated the United States Constitution and he went onto say that “I see no reason to make committed couples in Dona Ana County wait another minute to marry.”
The lawmakers said that they were considering legal action after a district judge in Bernalillo County gave the green light for same-sex couples to marry there.
“First we were looking at the lawlessness of Dona Anna County Clerk. But now we are looking at the usurpation of the entire democratic system,” said state Senator Bill Sharer.
He continued to say that judges and county clerks had overstepped a mark by beginning to issue licences.
“Does the legislature with the consent of the governor make the law or is this now the wild, wild, wild, west where each judge makes his or her own law?” asked Sharer.
The Senator has hired an attorney, and he said he is not sure how quickly legal action will move forward.
Governor Susana Martinez said that she believes the issue of same-sex marriage should be decided by the population of New Mexico, rather than courts or legislature.
The Democrats said that they believed that marriages from the certificates since the ruling will stand, and that they will fight legal action by GOP lawmakers.
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