New Mexico: The next battleground state?

20 Feb

Buried at the bottom of an AP story about San Francisco's law suit against the state of California over same-sex marriage is this tidbit about New Mexico:

Meanwhile, New Mexico's Sandoval County said it will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it had no legal grounds to refuse them.

New Mexico law defines marriage as a civil contract between contracting parties and does not mention gender.

"This office won't say no until shown it's not permissible," said Victoria Dunlap, county clerk of Sandoval County, which is home to 90,000 people just north of Albuquerque.

This is a case where the courts would pretty much have to say that any action by the state, aside from changing the law itself, that prevented same-sex couples from getting married was a violation of the 14th amendment since it would be discrimination in application of an existing law. A good example would be giving everyone a tax credit to anyone having dependent children and then having the state only give it to families with two parents. Why hasn't anyone thought of exploiting a loophole like this one before and are there any other states that define marriage as a civil contract that do not mention gender?

UPDATE: Here's a link to the law in question.

UPDATE II: Looks like they have to also recognize same-sex unions from other countries, like Canada:

All marriages celebrated beyond the limits of this state, which are valid according to the laws of the country wherein they were celebrated or contracted, shall be likewise valid in this state, and shall have the same force as if they had been celebrated in accordance with the laws in force in this state.

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