Same-sex marriage laws unclear in Santa Fe

Posted at: 03/19/2013 9:51 PM
Updated at: 03/19/2013 10:18 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The mayor of Santa Fe said it’s time for New Mexico county clerks to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In fact, he said state law already makes it legal. But one county clerk KOB Eyewitness News 4 talked to said she can’t because of the law.

The New Mexico constitution doesn’t specify if marriage is between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar told KOB it’s not her job to interpret the law.

Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, as well as other city leaders, said same-sex marriage is allowed in New Mexico, but Salazar said right now, the law is unclear. “If the law changes and I have the authority to do that then I have no problem issuing same-sex marriage licenses but as of today, the law remains as that. It’s, it’s not clear,” said Salazar.

The law states marriage is between two parties. But on the Santa Fe County marriage application it said male applicant and female applicant.

“When it’s a human rights issue it’s always a good time to act,” said Mayor Coss, who told KOB the issue hits close to home. “A few years ago, my daughter came out and told me that she was gay. What’s the difference between my older daughter and my younger daughter that they should be treated differently under the laws of New Mexico?” added Mayor Coss.

Back in 2004, Sandoval County, over 60 marriage licenses were issued only for the New Mexico attorney general to step in and invalidate them, which is what Salazar said could happen. “I don’t want to be issuing marriage licenses for a few hours to benefit a few which, in reality, our laws should benefit all citizens,” said Salazar.