Gay couple seeking marriage equality

Posted at: 03/20/2013 5:26 PM
Updated at: 03/20/2013 5:27 PM
By: Eddie Garcia, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Santa Fe City Attorney says same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico and that is firing up a decades-old debate in New Mexico. 

Some county clerks say they can't issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples - in part because the application asks for a male and female applicant.

Chip Hindi is a small business owner - he runs a dance studio.

He and his partner, Paul Sanchez have been a couple for six and a half years.

"It's wonderful having a partner you can trust in life," said Hindi.

They marched up to the Bernalillo County Courthouse Wednesday morning to apply for a marriage license.

They were told, no.

"Basically because your driver’s licenses say that you are both male, there's no appropriate form we have for you to fill out," said Hindi.

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver sent out a statement saying:

"I can't say I disagree with the bulk of the opinion," referring the statement made by the Santa Fe City Attorney Geno Zamora, saying same sex marriages are legal in New Mexico.

"County Clerks however are not policy makers or policy interpreters, we are policy implementers," Toulouse Oliver continued.

That's not enough for Hindi and Sanchez.

They're concerned about basics - like if one of them gets in a bad wreck.

"He doesn't have the right to visit me," said Hindi.

"All that stuff has to be taken care of by attorneys - you have to go out of your way to pay for documents to be made and even then, if your family contests those documents you have a problem," Sanchez added.

Hindi admits he's a proud Republican.

He wants more from his party and his state.

"I pay the same taxes that everybody else does, I'm subject to all the same laws everybody else is, except that one," said Hindi.

The Bernalillo County Clerk told us the courts or the legislature need to clarify the issue.

The couple said they will be contacting the ACLU to get help to make marriage equal.