Santa Fe County issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — UPDATED

Siegle Stefanics
Linda Siegle and Liz Stefanics got the first license – Liz is a County Commissioner

Recognized as the leading political journalist in New Mexico, Steve Terrell posted this at his blog. An updated version will appear in the SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN, Saturday.

The floodgates have opened. Same-sex marriage has begun in Santa Fe.

County Clerk Geraldine Salazar this afternoon began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples following an order from state District Judge Sarah Singleton that said Salazar should immediately start issuing the licenses or appear at a court hearing to show good cause why she shouldn’t.

There was almost a party atmosphere at the County Administration building as couples lined up to get marriage licenses — the first time in New Mexico in which the issuance of such licenses was backed up by a court order. Friends and loved ones hugged each other in the hallways while some of the couples decided to get married right away in the County Commission Chambers upstairs.

One person who wasn’t happy, however, was state Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, a long-time opponent of gay marriage. “This isn’t about marriage, it’s about who makes laws,” Sharer said in a telephone interview.

Shortly before 5 p.m. a staffer in the clerk’s office said 41 same-sex couples had been issued licenses. “And they’re still coming,” he said. The clerk’s office is staying open until 7 p.m. to handle the line of gay couples flocking in to get licenses…

The first couple to take advantage of the new licenses was County Commissioner Liz Stephanics and her partner of 23 years, Linda Siegle, who is a longtime lobbyist for gay rights as well as a member of the Santa Fe Community College board. They were married minutes later in the commission chambers by Santa Fe Probate Judge Mark Basham…

The next same-sex couple to receive a license were Alexander Hanna and Yon Hudson, a Santa Fe couple whose lawsuit prompted the order from Singleton. Both said they intend to wait on their wedding until family and friends from out of town can attend…

Another couple to get a license and get married Friday was Jen Roper and Angelique Neuman of Pojoaque. Earlier this week, Roper, who is suffering brain cancer, filed an emergency court request for a marriage license because of her deteriorating health. They got married at the Christus-St. Vincent Cancer Center, where Roper was being treated with chemo therapy…

Salazar said…“I am a fervent supporter of same-sex marriage in New Mexico and have always believed that the restrictive and antiquated statutes in our state must fall to principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution,” Salazar said in a statement.

“I have been frustrated recently wanting to issue licenses but being confronted with long standing statutes that do not permit it. Now that Judge Singleton has ordered me to issue a license to Messrs. Hanna and Hudson on constitutional grounds, I intend to do so and to issue a license to any same-sex couple who desires one and are otherwise qualified…

Watching local television coverage, we witnessed enough happiness today to wring tears from a heart of stone. Unfortunately, Tea Party/Republican bigots haven’t any hearts at all. So, everyone expects them to proceed with some kind of lawsuit. And Sunday morning should bring Catholic priests around the state declaring the AntiChrist is here to steal all the green chile in New Mexico.

It’s a pity that equal rights before the law scares the crap out of so many little people.

UPDATE: A judge in Bernalillo County joined decisions by county clerks and another judge in Santa Fe County and ruled that keeping same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional. Bernalillo County includes the population center for the state of New Mexico – Albuquerque – so, in addition to Santa Fe and Dona Ana County [which includes Las Cruces], the three counties comprising probably 95% of the state’s population have joined in validating civil rights for all for marriage.

A great day.

One thought on “Santa Fe County issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — UPDATED

  1. moss says:

    You’re right. Probably around 90% of the state lives in those 3 counties. And anyone in any other county can now go to any of these and enjoy their civil rights.

    And the Catholic Church and the Republican Party say they shouldn’t be allowed those rights.

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