ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez says Attorney General Gary King was right in not issuing a formal opinion on whether same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico and her office will not get involved in any challenges.
Martinez told the Associated Press on Friday that she also believed the courts should decide if same-sex marriage is legal in the state.
Her comments come a day after King — who is seeking to challenge Martinez for governor in 2014 — declined to issue a formal opinion on the matter after being asked by a state lawmaker.
An internal legal analysis by his staff, however, concluded that state law doesn’t allow same-sex marriage but is vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.
Meanwhile, officials in the capital city of Santa Fe recently passed a resolution recognizing same-sex marriage as legal in the state.
Article continues belowThe resolution followed the advise of Santa Fe’s city attorney Geno Zamora, who noted that New Mexico marriage laws are are gender-neutral, do not define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman, and that a statutory list of prohibited marriages does not list same-sex couples.
Zamora said that to discriminate against same-sex couples would violate the New Mexico Constitution, which requires equality under the law regardless of sex.
Previously, dozens of licenses were issued to same-sex couples in 2004 by a Sandoval County clerk, but then-Attorney General Patricia Madrid declared the licenses invalid.
Currently, three gay couples have filed lawsuits in state court challenging county clerks’ refusals to grant same-sex marriage licenses.