Wednesday night’s vote for the largely symbolic measure was 5-1 with two abstentions.
Council members who abstained or voted “no” say the city has no authority to make law on same-sex marriage and claim the issue has divided or polarized residents.
Last month, Coss and a city council member said New Mexico county clerks should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and Santa Fe’s city attorney Geno Zamora advised it would be legal to do so.
A legal memo by Zamora noted:
- New Mexico’s laws do not define marriage as between a man and a woman, the definitions are gender-neutral;
- A statutory list of prohibited marriages does not list same-sex couples;
- Same-sex marriages from other states are already recognized by New Mexico law;
- To discriminate against same-sex couples would violate the New Mexico Constitution which requires equality under the law regardless of sex.
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New Mexico Attorney General Gary King is in the process of coming up with an opinion on the subject, which hasn’t been adjudicated with finality in the state’s court system.