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New Mexico

N.M. county clerk raises nearly $30K for gay marriage defense fund

Saturday, September 14, 2013
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LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A southern New Mexico county clerk who is facing a challenge for his decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses has garnered close to $30,000 in donations.

Shari Vialpando-Hill, Las Cruces Sun-News/APGay and lesbian couples flocked to southern New Mexico when Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins announced on August 21 that his office was now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Shari Vialpando-Hill, Las Cruces Sun-News/AP
Gay and lesbian couples flocked to southern New Mexico when Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins announced on August 21 that his office was now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins has received more than 575 donations totaling more that $29,000.

That’s about 75 percent of the estimated $40,000 goal Ellins says will be needed to defend against a lawsuit filed by a group of state Republican legislators who’ve challenged in court his issuing of marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Last week, Ellins’ office started requesting legal defense donations, starting at $5.

Ellins says he “felt it was inappropriate” to use county resources to pay the legal fees, because the case involves polarizing topics.

Ellins issued the first licenses to same-sex couples on Aug. 21. He says around 225 licenses have been dispersed to date.

Donations for Ellins’ defense fund are being accepted here.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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