New Mexico becomes the most recent state to allow the legal recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states and countries where such unions are allowed, according to Attorney General Gary King’s legal opinion, issued on Tuesday. If the opinion stands, New Mexico joins Maryland, New York and California (in some instances) in recognizing legal same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, however, “Opinions by an attorney general are just that—opinions, which themselves do not have the force of law.”
Complicating matters in New Mexico is Gov. Susana Martinez’s staunch opposition to gay marriage. In a statement sent to Action 7 News, a spokesman for the Governor said, “Gov. Martinez made it clear during the campaign that she opposes same-sex marriage. It’s important to note that no New Mexico court has ruled on this issue.”
Even before King issued his opinion, some state lawmakers were scrambling to implement a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, defining the institution as strictly between one man and one woman.
Last year, a bill sponsored by Sen. William Sharer R-Farmington to amend New Mexico’s Constitution to ban gay marriage didn’t make it out of committee. The New Mexican reports that Sharer plans to re-introduce the amendment this year.
Elsewhere in the country, same-sex couples are fighting to hang onto their marriage rights. In New Hampshire, where gay marriage has been legally recognized for one year, lawmakers in that state’s new Republican majority have already drafted four bills that seek to strip gays and lesbians of their right to legally marry, according to the Nashua Telegraph.