New Mexico's Highest Court: Same-Sex Marriage Legal

8 of 33 counties had already been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 19, 2013 12:44 PM CST
Jena and Nan Masland, both 35, join dozens of same-sex couple lining up outside the Albuquerque clerk's office Monday, Aug. 27, 2013.   (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
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(Newser) – New Mexico's highest court has legalized same-sex marriage, declaring it is unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples. The state Supreme Court issued its ruling today, putting New Mexico in the club of 16 states and the District of Columbia that allow gay marriage. Eight of the state's 33 counties have been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since August, when a county clerk in southern New Mexico independently decided to allow the unions.

County officials asked the high court to clarify the law and establish a uniform state policy on gay marriage. State statutes don't explicitly prohibit or authorize gay marriage. However, county clerks historically have denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples because the law includes a marriage license application with sections for male and female applicants. (Read more gay marriage stories.)

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