New Mexico

Majority of Santa Fe marriage licenses in past year went to same-sex couples

This photo taken on Monday, May 12, 2014, shows the certificate of marriage presented to Kathy Chambery, and her partner, Marilyn Haring of 23 years, after they were married at Magistrate Court in Santa Fe, N.M. Jane Phillips, AP

This photo taken on Monday, May 12, 2014, shows the certificate of marriage presented to Kathy Chambery, and her partner, Marilyn Haring of 23 years, after they were married at Magistrate Court in Santa Fe, N.M. Jane Phillips, AP

This photo taken on Monday, May 12, 2014, shows the certificate of marriage presented to Kathy Chambery, and her partner, Marilyn Haring of 23 years, after they were married at Magistrate Court in Santa Fe, N.M.

SANTA FE, N.M. — More than half of the marriage licenses issued by Santa Fe County in the past year have gone to same-sex couples.

The number of licenses issued has doubled, and 55 percent went to same-sex couples, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Friday, citing data compiled by the county clerk’s office.

More than 2,500 licenses were handed out since becoming available to same-sex couples on Aug. 23, 2013, the figures show.

Of those, nearly 1,400 were requested by gay couples, with at least 600 of those couples coming from Texas and Oklahoma, officials said.

The rise in licenses has also led to an increase in revenue for Santa Fe area caterers, photographers and other wedding-related businesses.

Babak Dowlatshahi, owner of Insight Foto, said he’s gone from doing four weddings a year to about 30 in the past year.

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“Obviously, there is a bottleneck of people that have been waiting,” he said. “I think it will last for a couple of years and then settle down to find a rhythm.”

Taos County has seen a similar increase in marriage licenses. County data shows 498 licenses have been issued since Aug. 28, 2013, with 48 percent going to same-sex couples. More than 180 of the couples came from Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.

New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize same-sex marriage on Dec. 19, through a unanimous ruling by the state Supreme Court. Some opponents discussed trying to overturn the ruling with a ballot measure, but that effort gained no traction.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

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