SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Mayor David Coss and three city councilors are taking their first formal step to push state officials to recognize same-sex marriage under current New Mexico law.
Coss and Councilors Patti Bushee, Chris Calvert and Ronald Trujillo introduced a resolution at Wednesday’s council meeting that aims to persuade county clerks across the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The nonbinding measure also calls for state Attorney General Gary King to issue an opinion on the matter.
The council was not expected to vote on the resolution Wednesday, said city spokeswoman Jodi McGinnis Porter.
Trujillo said he and his wife have been married for 15 years.
“We have many gay friends and family in committed relationships who are raising children and are productive members of society,” he said in a statement before the meeting. “Why shouldn’t they enjoy the same protection and equality as the rest of us?”
Hours before the council meeting, the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement in defense of marriage. The bishops argued that marriage is a “life-long bond between one man and one woman” and changing the biblical definition to include same-sex couples would have “regrettable” effects.
The proposed resolution contends that state law defining marriage is gender-neutral and lacks any prohibition on same-sex marriage. Supporters say that means same-sex couples should be able to legally marry in New Mexico.
City officials have also said the state already recognizes same-sex marriages from other states and that the New Mexico Constitution requires equal treatment on the basis of sex.
However, clerks in Curry, Dona Ana and Santa Fe counties have said that state law doesn’t let them issue same-sex marriage licenses and they won’t do so without an opinion from the attorney general. King’s office has yet to weigh in on the question.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico is also pushing for an answer through the courts. The organization filed a lawsuit last week in state district court on behalf of two lesbian couples who sought marriage licenses in Bernalillo County.