SANTA FE, N.M. — A county clerk in New Mexico's capital city began issuing same-sex marriage licenses Friday afternoon after receiving an order from a state district judge. The ruling is the first to find that same sex marriage is legal under New Mexico law.
Brian Egolf is one of the lawyers representing two men who were denied a marriage license by the Santa Fe County Clerk. He says the District Court's order was based on the state's Equal Rights Amendment which prohibits discrimination based on sex.
"Our state constitution gives much more protection than the federal constitution," Egolf said. "New Mexico today became a little bit freer and a little bit more equal."
New Mexico's marriage laws don't explicitly prohibit or allow same-sex marriage, so this is the first time a judge has clarified the vagueness of the law. The decision comes two days after a county clerk in the southern New Mexico county of Doña Ana decided on his own to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to reflect the Santa Fe County Clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday.
Updated 8/24/2013 at 11:44 a.m.