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Los Alamos latest NM county ordered to issue marriage licenses to gay couples

Sunday, September 1, 2013
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LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — The clerk in New Mexico’s Los Alamos County said she will decide on Tuesday whether to join six other counties and begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover will decide by then whether to abide by the judge’s order or seek to stop it, reported the Los Alamos Mirror.

A judge on Thursday ordered Stover to start granting same-sex marriage licenses or to appear in court next week to explain why that shouldn’t happen.

Stover says she has not had enough time yet to review the documentation officials received with the county attorney.

The order comes after Janet Newton and Maria Thibodeau asked a state district court last week to require Los Alamos County officials to issue them a marriage license, a move that expands the legal battle over gay marriage in New Mexico.

Earlier last week, another district judge ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny gay and lesbian couples a marriage license in a case against Bernalillo and Santa Fe county clerks, although that ruling doesn’t apply statewide.

County clerks across the state agreed Wednesday to take legal steps to try to get a uniform policy on same-sex marriage statewide, rather than having the issue decided piecemeal through county-by-county lawsuits.

If Stover abides by the ruling, Los Alamos County would be the seventh New Mexico county to issue such licenses since Dona Ana County began two weeks ago.

Since then, five other counties — Santa Fe, Bernalillo, San Miguel, Valencia, and Taos — have all started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, either under court order or by their own volition.

New Mexico law doesn’t explicitly prohibit or authorize same-sex marriage.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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