The first marriage license to a same-sex couple in New Mexico’s Bernalillo County was issued this morning to a couple identified as Pat and Karen. “Can I kiss the bride, yet?” she asked after the ceremony at the Bernalillo County clerk’s office was complete.
Yesterday afternoon, a New Mexico district court judge in Albuquerque, Alan Malott, ruled that state’s ban on same-sex marriage was “unconstitutional and unenforceable” and has removed it from Bernalillo County, the state’s most-populous.
“I’m very happy and proud to finally be issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples in Bernalillo County. Furthermore, I am beyond relieved to have some judicial guidance in this matter that immediately resolves the conflict that existed between state law and our state constitution,” Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced upon hearing the ruling yesterday. ”Marriage is a fundamental civil right that should be acknowledged and respected at all levels of government. Judge Malott’s ruling today has made it clear that the fundamental assumption of that civil right outweighs other technicalities and concerns.”
Yesterday’s action follows a similar ruling by another New Mexico judge last week for Santa Fe county, and the act of a Doña Ana county clerk earlier in the week who announced he could find no constitutional reason to deny same-sex couples licenses.
“This is a great day to be a resident of New Mexico,” said ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson. “Our state is now on the brink of joining the growing list of states who live and honor the values of family, liberty and love. Every family in this state is made richer by this step toward justice for all.”