The clerk opened her office to the crowd at 8 a.m., and a mass wedding was planned at noon in Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza.The ruling followed on the heels of another judge's similar ruling in Santa Fe County Thursday and a move by Doña Ana County Clerk to process licenses for same-sex marriages earlier last week. But Malott's ruling was viewed as broader than the previous moves because he outright called a ban on marriage equality illegal. According to the Albuquerque Journal, that move was unexpected by the ACLU, which had filed suit asking that the state recognize, on her death certificate, a dying woman’s marriage Friday in Santa Fe to her longtime partner.
Patricia Catlett, a 61-year-old graphic designer from Albuquerque, and her partner of 25 years, Karen Schmiege, a 69-year-old retired librarian, were the first to get their license in Bernalillo County.
“I am so excited I can’t stand it,” Schmiege said as they were signing their papers.
Republicans aren't happy. State Sen. Bill Sharer said Thursday that he would join with other party members and file suit with the New Mexico Supreme Court. On Monday:
Sharer said district judges and county clerks have overstepped their bounds by issuing the licenses. He said the whole process is frustrating to watch.Democratic Party officials say they will fight any Republican lawsuit. New Mexico Democratic Attorney General Gary King has said he plans to take no action to defend a state prohibition on same-sex marriages. And, although Republican Gov. Susanna Martinez said she believes decisions about marriage equality should be left up to the legislature and citizens, not the courts, she plans no action thus far.
“Does the legislature with the consent of the governor make the law or is this now the wild, wild, wild, west where each judge makes his or her own law?" asked Sharer. [...]
“It is inexplicable how a district court just today discovered a new definition of marriage in our laws, when our marriage law has not been changed in over a century,” Sharer said.