An Albuquerque judge has ordered the clerk of New Mexico's most populous county, Bernalillo County, to begin issuing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, ruling today that New Mexico's constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The decision came in a case involving a lesbian couple who sought an emergency ruling because one of them is dying and they wanted to make certain the state would recognize their marriage. The couple's wedding happened last week in Santa Fe, after a judge in a separate case ordered the Santa Fe County clerk to issue same-sex licenses.
In addition to Santa Fe and now Bernalillo, the clerk of Dona Ana County in southern New Mexico decided on his own early last week to began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, it's uncertain whether clerks in the state's 30 other counties will use the today's ruling as a signal that they can issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, too. A group of Republican legislators is planning to file a lawsuit to stop clerks from issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Dona Ana County's clerk, however, says, "I think the train has pulled out of the station." (Read more gay marriage stories.)