Target: Dona Ana, New Mexico County Clerk Lynn Ellins
Goal: Applaud county clerk for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in New Mexico county
Dona Ana, New Mexico County Clerk Lynn Ellins recently released a statement that his office would commence issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. This announcement came only days after New Mexico’s Supreme Court decided not to expedite a marriage equality case because they believe that case should first be heard by a lower court. Ellins’ decision marks a small step towards rectifying the second-class citizenship same-sex couples have experienced and should be commended as a small step towards obtaining equality for the gay community.
New Mexico’s constitution does not outlaw same-sex marriage and there is no specific ban in the statutes, but the state has nonetheless not allowed same-sex couples to marry in the past. New Mexico’s Attorney General Gary King recently reviewed the state codes and found that some statutes stipulate that couples who want to get married must include one female and one male. However, the equal protection clauses in the state constitution render those statutes unconstitutional. Therefore, King asserted that he would not fight marriage equality lawsuits in his state. As a result of the Attorney General’s findings and advisory opinion, Ellins decided that he would not wait the lengthy amount of time it would take the marriage equality case to make its way through the judicial process.
Ellins stated that the marriage statutes in New Mexico laws are gender neutral and thus do not outlaw Dona Ana County from granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Denying marriage licenses to gay couples directly violated both New Mexico’s constitution and the U.S. Constitution as well as the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Ellins stated his decision to issue licenses to gay couples upholds New Mexico law, which is why he refused to make same-sex couples in Dona Ana County wait any longer to get married.
Similar to the 14th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, New Mexico’s state constitution guarantees that all citizens be equally protected under the law. The U.S. Supreme Court invoked this protection in the recent decision to strike down a part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Ellins’ decision upholds this protection in his county and should be lauded. Please sign this petition to show your support for Ellins whose announcement will hopefully be emulated in many other counties in New Mexico as well as in other counties throughout the United States.
Dear Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins,
We applaud you for your decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. Rather than wait for a marriage equality lawsuit to make its way through the lengthy judicial process, you announced that you would not delay granting marriage licenses to gay couples any longer. Your decision upholds New Mexico law as well as the U.S. Constitution should be lauded.
The 14th amendment in the U.S. Constitution guarantees that all citizens would be treated equally under the law regardless of race, sex, gender, and sexual orientation. This same protection is also enshrined in New Mexico law. We commend you for not only upholding the law as it is written but for promoting equality for gay couples and the gay community. It is our hope that other counties in New Mexico as well as counties across the country imitate your decision.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Other Andrew via Flickr