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Second county in NM starts issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Aug 23 2013 11:15:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 12:21:17 PM CST

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Vina reports.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Dona Ana County is leading the way, issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Now Santa Fe County is following suit.

Some state legislators are not happy about it.

The excitement at the Dona Ana County government building continued on Friday. Nearly 60 more couples got marriage licenses, bringing the total since Wednesday to 139.

"Finally somebody is opening their eyes. This is up and coming. This is what we need to do. We are people. We are human just like you guys," said Jan Parks, who drove in from Edgewood, N.M., to get a marriage license with her partner.

Many got married at the county building.

Couples walked out, ecstatic they were officially married.

Up north in Santa Fe County, more couples were thrilled to get marriage licenses.

A district judge ordered the county clerk there to issue licenses, saying to do otherwise would go against the state constitution.

Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said this decision reasserted what he's been doing this week

"I have no discretion to refuse. I must issue licenses if people ask me to issue them. We finally got a court saying I'm right," Ellins told ABC-7.

A group of Republican state legislators disagree with everything that's been going on.

"Everybody, liberals and conservatives, tea party members all should be offended by this way of making law because if one person can make law this way and that's what the county clerk has done, then pretty soon a different county clerk or official somewhere else is going to make another law they find offensive," said Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington.

Sharer and others are working with a legal team to find a way to petition the state Supreme Court to put a stop to this. Sharer could not give a timeline of when this will happen.

Ellins said he's just following the state constitution.

One couple who drove in from El Paso got married in the county building. They told ABC-7 love is love, no matter if it's a man or a woman.

Ellins said his office will not stop until a court tells them to.

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