A New Mexico judge has ordered the county clerks of Bernalillo and Sante Fe counties to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples who apply and are otherwise qualified.
The addition of Bernalillo County into the mix makes a third county in the state where licenses will be issued to same-sex couples.
The Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office said it will begin issuing licenses at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Albuquerque — the state’s largest city — is in Bernalillo County.
Issuing a peremptory writ of mandamus, Judge Alan Malott found Monday that the couples suing for a right to marry in one of the only states in the nation without either marriage equality or an explicit ban on such marriages have a “significant likelihood of success” on the merits of their lawsuit.
In reading his ruling in open court Monday, Malott said he ordered that:
New Mexico law, Malott found, “does not preclude nor prohibit issuance of a marriage license to otherwise qualified couples on the basis of sexual orientation or the gender of its members.”
To the extent it is found to do so, “those prohibitions are unconstitutional and unenforceable under” New Mexico’s constitution, he ruled.
Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Oliver and Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar “shall comply with and perform” their duty to issue such licences.
Oliver and Salazar are “enjoined and restrained from refusing to issue” such licenses.
Malott is a district court judge in the Second Judicial District of New Mexico and was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Bill Richardson.
UPDATE: More than 100 folks were in line this morning in Albuquerque as the county clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.