Civil Liberties

Legal Challenge May Decide Gay Marriage Issue in New Mexico

Equal protection is the key


Under pressure from legislators and a vigorous campaign by religious and civil rights groups to legalize same-sex marriage in New Mexico, the state's attorney general, Gary King, cautioned city clerks on Thursday against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — but at the same time invited litigation, saying that the state's statute was "vulnerable to challenge."

"There's a significant issue relating to our equal-protection clause and whether or not the statute would withstand" a legal challenge over giving same-sex couples the same rights granted to other couples who are married in New Mexico, Mr. King said.