Santa Fe City Council Encourages County Clerks to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

This week, Santa Fe's City Council passed a non-binding resolution encouraging county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The 5 to 3 decision was made in front of a standing room only crowd. Many supporters wore red to remind the council that the vote was about love, while others wore yellow stickers (representing Equality New Mexico) or pink hearts that said "All Families Matter."

When asked for her vote, Councilor Patti Bushee, who is openly gay, cheered, "Si se puede!"

Councilor Chris Calvert told the crowd, "I'm voting against fear and prejudice and for equality, inclusiveness and most of all love."

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Last month, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss and City Attorney Geno Zamora released two documents in which they outlined why marriage licenses should be issued to same-sex couples in New Mexico. The primary reason being that the marriage laws, in the state, are gender neutral (i.e. they don't define marriage as being between a man and a woman). In addition, the documents also stated that the state constitution guarantees equal rights on the basis of sex and that New Mexico recognizes marriages from other states. These factors led Coss and Zamora to conclude that same-sex marriage is essentially legal in the state. The documents also encourages same-sex couples to petition for a writ of mandamus if a county clerk denies them a marriage license.

There is currently a lawsuit pending in the state that was filed by two lesbian couples after the Mayor's announcement last month. New Mexico is the only state in the country that does not explicitly recognize or ban marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples.

“Santa Fe is a city of respect, acceptance, and diversity that embraces all of our residents,” Mayor Coss said last month. “I sponsored this resolution because all loving, committed couples should have the right to marry regardless of their sexual orientation.”