News (USA)

N.M. governor: AG was correct in not issuing opinion on same-sex marriage

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.

Gov. Susana Martinez (R-N.M.)

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.

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The 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.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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