Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation
New Mexico

Judges in 2 N.M. counties stop officiating weddings following gay marriage ruling

Thursday, February 20, 2014

CARLSBAD, N.M. — Judges in two southeastern New Mexico counties recently announced they will no longer officiate weddings after the state’s high court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal.

New MexicoThe announcement means judges in Eddy and Chaves counties won’t officiate any civil marriage ceremonies, from straight or same-sex couples, reports the Carlsbad Current-Argus.

In December, the New Mexico Supreme Court decided it was unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

The Eddy County Clerk’s Office said the decision was made a few months ago. Jeff Ortega, chief deputy clerk for Chaves County, said judges informed the county of their decision months before the Supreme Court decision.

State law does not require judges to officiate weddings, but county clerks are required to issue licenses that must be signed by a judge, minister or tribal representative.

“I don’t have a problem with who wants to get married,” said Eddy County Magistrate Judge Henry Castaneda. “But we don’t have to compromise our beliefs.”

Meanwhile, Carlsbad Municipal Judge David Redford said his caseload was too much to bear to continue performing marriage ceremonies.

Advertisement
Arthur Pepin, director of the state’s Administrative Offices of the Court, said the department never had an official marriage policy, but received numerous calls about the issue after the ruling was made.

The decision, Pepin said, is optional but he doesn’t know how many judges in the state have adopted the practice of not performing marriages.

“We understand it is a sensitive matter for so many people,” he said. “But you have to treat people equally.”

“They either perform marriages or they don’t,” he added.

In Lea County, however, two judges in Lovington did notify the county clerk that they were still going to continue to officiate weddings, said Lea County Clerk Pat Chappelle.

Chappelle said the county has not received a significant spike in marriage licenses since the ruling, but the process has been a little slower because of a shortage of people who can legally sign off on marriage licenses.

© 2014, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , ,

Filed under: New Mexico

49 more reader comments:

  1. Can judges do that? Don’t they take an oath to uphold the Constitution?

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:17pm
  2. bigots…

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:17pm
  3. Imagine how these judges deal w people that murder gay people. If you can not be neutral you shouldn’t be a judge.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:17pm
  4. If they can’t do that, then maybe they should just resign.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:17pm
  5. Who needs ‘em? Nobody.
    It’s an optional activity, and plenty of other folks can do it.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:18pm
  6. Hold up a second my gay friends…..they said JUDGE not FUDGE.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:19pm
  7. The judges using their religious rights to refuse equality….Judges are supposed to be above this craziness.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:21pm
  8. 2 Right Wing Bigots.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:25pm
  9. Officiating weddings for judges is optional – but it does show their true colors and their inability to remain impartial. Frankly I am not surprised – SE New Mexico is an extension of Texas – Very backward – very conservative. Not at all representative of the state as a whole.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:27pm
  10. Wait there not doing any wedding so that’s not discriminating

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:27pm
  11. Bill Reulbach, marriage has literally nothing to do with the Constitution. And as far as I’m aware, marriage ceremonies are optional for judges pretty much everywhere in the US. It would be no different than if a judge recused themselves from a case. Judges can refuse to hear any case they want, including marriages.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:31pm
  12. if you do not feel the battle you should not respond to the battle

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:13pm
  13. Plus, would you want some sour religious bigot presiding over your marriage? I doubt it. Probably better to find someone more accepting to sign the document.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:32pm
  14. If they can’t fulfill their duties, find someone who can. There are lots of highly-qualified unemployed lawyers.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:33pm
  15. Time to vote them out!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:38pm
  16. So, two more d*cks out of the way. Spend your money at a more worthy office.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:38pm
  17. Remove them from public office if they are not prepared to serve the citizens.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:42pm
  18. Bye bye…off the bench!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:43pm
  19. In my opinion they’ve just signaled their disqualification to be judges and opened the door to future appeals of any decisions they make concerning LGBT plaintiffs and defendants.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:43pm
  20. Why

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:46pm
  21. Well, so long as they aren’t conducting ANY weddings, I think that might be their authority.

    On the other hand, they may NOT have that authority….

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:48pm
  22. and you think it is ok to stop people from marrying....I see you are married with children.

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:12pm
  23. First, yes I am married with children. I'm also very much a PFLAG supporter, and would have been were it not for some of my children being out. Second, I'm not sure what the law states in this matter. I know that judges are often Justices of the Peace and are therefore required to conduct all legal weddings. BUT, I'm not sure what the law states in NM. If it simply ALLOWS a judge to be a Justice of the Peace, then they have the legal authority to refuse to conduct ALL weddings, or else they have to conduct ALL weddings. If the law states that they ARE a JotP, then they simply must conduct ALL weddings with no legal authority to refuse.

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:19pm
  24. Did anybody actually read the damn article? They are not discriminating. They are not performing ANY marriages. They don’t want to do LGBT ones, so they aren’t doing any.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:49pm
  25. well loud person, can't believe you are defending them

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:11pm
  26. Where did I defend them? I merely stated fact, rather than allowing my over sensitive emotions to dictate my reaction. In their jurisdiction, they are not required to perform marriages. As long as they are not performing any marriages, that is their RIGHT. Remember, LGBT and other minorities are not the only ones who have those. Do I think they are small minded and ridiculous? Absolutely. However, they are doing nothing illegal and they are treating all marriages equally. Different story if they are refusing to only LGBT marriages. But you are probably too busy hammering nails into your rainbow cross to recognize those differences.

    Replied on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:36pm
  27. And it also states that a jusge is not required to perform marriages in the state of NM. Edited for typo

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:49pm
  28. They need to resign!

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:51pm
  29. Time for new judges. If I decide I don’t want to do part of my job my employer uses this word called FIRED!! Plain and simple. I am amazed how people today take a job and then decide their own terms later.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:53pm
  30. This does not bother me. At least their bigotry is affecting everyone.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:59pm
  31. It shows his bias and should be forces out of his position.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:22pm
  32. So the abuse has begun.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:34pm
  33. Vote them out…

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:37pm
  34. Ex-Judges.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:49pm
  35. Shane, you hit the nail right on the head.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:54pm
  36. … and I hear these judges will no longer be eating shrimp either. (Check Leviticus boys, or do the beliefs you follow be a matter of personal choice?)

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:10pm
  37. Remove them now

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:12pm
  38. Get rid of them! Get new judges since those can’t seem to do their damn job.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:28pm
  39. They should resign. And the work for their churches. And I bet the bennies won’t be great and the job security unlikely and the pay packets late every week.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:40pm
  40. As long as they have stopped performing any marriages then they are effectively not doing that part of their job but it is within their rights to do so.

    Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:58pm
  41. I thought I was going to be mad at these judges, but after reading the article, I understand where they’re coming from. It’s not like they’re going to stop officiating gay weddings, they’re just not officiating any weddings at all. So I can’t just sit back and complain.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:38am
  42. yes you can

    Replied on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:37pm
  43. I think that’s fair. If they aren’t wanting to do gay marriages because of religious beliefs than they shouldn’t do any marriages.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:45am
  44. ignorant

    Replied on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:37pm
  45. If they can’t do their job, replace them.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:48am
  46. Give us legislative phone numbers. Let’s raise hell. This is NOT a state by state issue! This is a legal U.S. citizens issue. If those inbred motherfuckers don’t want to grant rights….I won’t pay taxes! Fuck this shit…let’s go for the groin and make AMERICA Hurt! Enough is enough!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 8:31am
  47. YOUR SPREAD OF HATRED WILL AFFECT YOUR LOVED ONES…THIS IS HOW KARMA WORKS!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 10:12am
  48. Byeeeee! X

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 11:10am
  49. By not performing any marriages they’re just trying to find an easy way out of being called bigots..

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:03pm