Santa Fe officials on Tuesday urged county clerks to provide same-sex couples with marriage licenses, claiming that same-sex marriage was legal in New Mexico.
In a legal memo, City Attorney Geno Zamara explained that the state’s definite of marriage was gender-neutral and therefore did not prohibit same-sex marriage. He also noted that the constitution of New Mexico prohibits denying equality under the law on the basis of sex.
“New Mexico law does not define marriage as between a man and a woman. Nor does New Mexico law prohibit same-sex marriage. New Mexico already recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states and our Constitution requires equal treatment on the basis of sex. Same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico,” Zamara concluded.
At a press conference, Mayor David Coss and Councilor Patti Bushee said they had sponsored a resolution expressing support for same-sex marriage. The resolution will be introduced at the next City Council meeting.
“Santa Fe is a city of respect, acceptance, and diversity that embraces all of our residents,” Coss said. “I sponsored this resolution because all loving, committed couples should have the right to marry regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar, however, said she had no plans to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the law was changed.
“I would love to be able to issue marriage licenses [to same sex couples] but under the current law, I feel I’m not free and clear to do so,” she told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “The Legislature creates the laws and the judges interpret the laws and I as a county clerk do not create or interpret laws. And I feel that my oath of office does not allow to me act counter to the laws of New Mexico.”
The state legislature briefly considered a bill that would have put the legalization of same-sex marriage up to a statewide vote in November 2014. The legislation was killed in a House committee.