Sante Fe Lawmakers Welcome Same-Sex Marriage

Santa Fe Mayor David Coss

New Mexico is an odd state when it comes to the current legal circumstances for same-sex marriage. It has neither a constitutional amendment nor a state law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. In 2004, a county clerk simply started offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and before that was stopped, 64 couples obtained marriage certificates. Since then, county clerks have simply agreed not to offer more same-sex marriages until the state legislature acts, but the legality of those 64 marriages and the status of marriage equality throughout the state remains in limbo to this day.

That may soon change, as Santa Fe Mayor David Coss (D) and City Councilor Patti Bushee are calling on the City Council to adopt a resolution clarifying that same-sex marriage legal. Coss noted that his daughter is gay and he looks forward to the day he can walk her down the aisle. City attorney Geno Zamora determined that since nothing prohibits same-sex couples from obtaining marriages, then same-sex marriage must be legal. Oddly, the Santa Fe County Clerk, Geraldine Salazar, was not included in this new push, and she has said she still will not offer licenses until the state acts. Thus, even if the Santa Fe City Council acts, it may not change anything in the short term.

Still, this renewed visibility may be enough to awaken the sleeping giant. Any county clerk in the state could decide at any moment to begin offering same-sex marriage licenses again, and hypothetically, nothing under the law could prevent them from doing. State Attorney General Gary King (D) offered guidance in 2011 that same-sex marriages from other states should be recognized in New Mexico. It makes sense that marriages performed in New Mexico would also be recognized in New Mexico.