Latest developments in the ongoing marriage equality fight in New Mexico, which I wrote about earlier this week:
- Doña Ana county is still issuing marriage licenses (and registering marriages when solemnized), with over 90 couples now participating. Some are driving or flying in from Texas at this point.
- Two dozen NM state legislators — Republicans all, of course, led by State Senator William Sharer, R-Farmington — said last night that they plan to file a court challenge, possibly as soon as Friday afternoon to try to win an injunction and force Doña Ana county to stop all gay marriages and order all counties not to issue any additional same sex marriage licenses.
- In a breaking development, NM District Judge Sarah Singleton has just issued an order directing Santa Fe county clerk’s office to begin issuing same sex marriage licenses immediately or appear in court by September 26 to explain why they refuse to comply.
Judge Singleton’s ruling is based on a case before her court, filed by two Santa Fe men who have challenged New Mexico’s de facto ban on same sex marriage recognition. (A ban, which as I have explained many times in comments and this post here, appears in every way to be on extremely shaky legal footing, but nevertheless remains official state government policy.)
I plan to continue watching the situation and will update this post if or when the anti-gay GOP state legislators make their move.
Update 4:25pm MDT: As of 1:30pm MDT, the Santa Fe county clerk’s office decided to obey Judge Singleton’s order and has begun issuing marriage licenses. So I guess that answers that question, with respect to whether they were going to challenge the ruling. The NM GOP legislators appear as yet not to have filed for their attempted injunction to stop the marriages.
Update 5:35 MDT: The GOP legislators, who now are reported to be 29 members, have said in this linked story to be “reviewing their options” in light of Friday’s developments. Meanwhile, the Santa Fe county clerk’s office has reported having already issued some licenses and performing “a few” civil marriages.
Update 1:30a MDT: The lesbian couple who had filed for an emergency order to allow them to get married have done so. Angelique Neuman and Jen Roper met 22 years ago in college and have been together ever since. They adopted three children, bought a house together. Roper, unfortunately, has brain cancer and is undergoing chemo — and it’s not known if she’ll survive. Travel to another state or even to Doña Ana county was completely out of the question for them. The linked report says there will be a hearing in District Court on Monday to determine what the state will do about the marriage licenses already issued and solemnized. (Presumably, they may also touch on the question affecting those of us like my wife and I who have a valid, legal out-of-state marriage, too. We’ll see.) Anyway, at least Angelique and Jen managed to achieve their dream.
(Side note: Just an fyi, but I hate the term ‘gay marriage,’ and prefer the terms marriage equality and same sex marriage, but we need to sprinkle a few mentions of that other term in these posts to satisfy the search engines, as it is the term most people use when looking for stories like this.)