Bernalillo County issues first same-sex marriage licenses

Posted at: 08/27/2013 7:41 AM
Updated at: 08/27/2013 1:56 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

On Tuesday morning, Bernalillo County becomes the third county in New Mexico to allow same-sex marriage.

At 8 a.m., the county clerk will begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. This, after a judge ruled in district court in Albuquerque that the state constitution allows marriage equality and forbids discrimination.

“I think the judge today made very clear that the statute was unconstitutional,” Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Tolouse said. “It’s been a personal struggle, but I’m gratified to have clarity and to be able to move forward.”

Bernalillo County printed around 1,000 new marriage licenses in anticipation of the ruling on Sunday. The new certificates read, “Spouse and Spouse” instead of “Bride and Groom."

Advocacy groups ProgressNow NM and Equality NM will host same-sex wedding ceremonies on Civic Plaza for newly licensed couples starting at noon.

"Finding and scheduling a judge or religious officiant to perform marriage ceremonies can often take hours or days for couples who receive licenses to marry," said Pat Davis of ProgressNowNM.  "These couples have waited long enough for the right to marry and it's the least we can do to provide them with access to officiants ready to solemnize the ceremonies to make their marriages official."