Attorney General Gary King’s Facebook post
“LIKE” & “SHARE”
Letter from the AG
Same Sex Marriage is About Civil Rights
The issue of same sex marriage has enveloped New Mexicans in recent weeks. Clearly, there are cultural, religious, political, and legal concerns that deserve consideration in any discussion of the issue. However, as Attorney General for the State of New Mexico, the legal aspects of this important issue are front and center for me. The extremely knowledgeable and capable staff attorneys in my Office, who have been diligently researching applicable law on the subject, also recognize that same sex marriage is an issue that affects the social fabric of our society. Because the issue is that important, I intend to proceed deliberately and as swiftly as possible to help move it through the legal process toward resolution. I thought it would helpful to give New Mexicans some perspective on what the Attorney General’s Office is doing to address the same sex marriage issue.
Going back to the beginning of 2011, I was asked by New Mexico State Representative Al Park to provide a legal Opinion as to whether same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions are valid in New Mexico. A comprehensive legal analysis by my office concluded that valid same-sex marriages performed in other states are entitled to full faith and credit and should be valid in New Mexico.
More recently, in July of this year, the New Mexico Supreme Court asked me to weigh in on the legal issues involving same sex marriage. Again, our exhaustive legal analysis concluded that (1) New Mexico’s guarantee of equal protection requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry the same way opposite-sex couples are; (2) NM’s statutory scheme does, in fact, prohibit same-sex marriage; and (3) the NM Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction to order county clerks, through a writ of mandamus, to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. In the same response I also requested that, should the Court consider the merits of the constitutional argument raised by proponents of same sex marriage, it issue an opinion declaring New Mexico’s prohibition on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional under Article II, § 18 of the New Mexico Constitution.
Here is where some critics have incorrectly interpreted the legal process. Some have said that I am trying to unilaterally disregard state law by not suing county clerks who have elected to issue same sex marriage licenses. Several District Courts have addressed the issue. Two separate judges essentially ordered two different county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Another judge ruled that the state’s prohibitive statutes are unconstitutional, paving the way for another clerk to start issuing the licenses. I maintain that the best way to resolve this issue is for the NM Supreme Court to decide whether our current law is unconstitutional.
In the last week of August I sent a letter to a county clerk advising her that my office had received reports that marriage licenses given to same sex couples in 2004 had been marked as “invalid” or “illegal.” I told the clerk that only a New Mexico court has the authority to void a marriage license.
Finally, some people, including the Governor, say that the issue of whether same sex couples should be afforded the same rights as everyone else in our state must be decided by the voters. I urge the reader to consider the following: The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863; The 19th Amendment (Women’s Suffrage) in 1920; the Civil Rights Act of 1964;—none of which were voted upon by the general electorate.
Gary K. King
New Mexico Attorney General
Today, in his Facebook post this afternoon Attorney General Gary King said that he can selectively enforce the law. King is sending a clear message that in some cases if his personal perspective and ideology are in conflict with the law, he won’t enforce it and the law must change. He states that same sex marriage is indeed illegal according to the New Mexico constitution and state statutes, but because he doesn’t like it and thinks same sex marriage may be a civil rights issue, he doesn’t have to enforce the law!
Is marriage a civil right?
What defines a civil rights issue? I found the below to be very interesting and a good explanation of explaining the concept King fails to understand:
Those who now argue that same-sex couples should be included, as a matter of civil right, within the legal definition of marriage are appealing to the constitutional principles of equal protection and equal treatment. But this is entirely inappropriate for making the case for same-sex “marriage.” To argue that the Constitution guarantees equal treatment to all citizens, both men and women, does not say anything about what constitutes marriage, or a family, or a business enterprise, or a university, or a friendship. An appeal for equal treatment would certainly not lead a court to require that a small business enterprise be called a marriage just because two business partners prefer to think of their business that way. Nor would equal treatment of citizens before the law require a court to conclude that those of us who pray before the start of auto races should be allowed to redefine our auto clubs as churches.
If homosexual relationships are, in this manner, legally recognized as marriages, no realities will change. Heterosexual marriage partners will still be able to engage in sexual intercourse and potentially procreate children; homosexual partners will still not be able to engage in such intercourse. Pregnancy will still be possible only by implanting a male sperm in a female egg, whether that is done by sexual intercourse inside or outside of marriage, or by in vitro fertilization, or by implanting male sperm in the uterus of a woman not married to the man whose sperm are being used. The only thing that will change is that the law will mistakenly use the word “marriage” to refer to two different kinds of sexually intimate human relationships.
Does Gary King believe he is above the law?
King’s statement today shows he does not mind ignoring the law– but there’s more. From his past actions it can be safely said that Attorney General Gary King does not mind breaking the law. He has been deeply involved in emailgate, which included stealing and disseminating Governor Susana Martinez private emails by New Mexican Leftists and Democrats. King played his role when the emails were sent to his office and he released them to the media. King was even warned by the FBI that he may have broken a federal law.
The Democrats gubernatorial candidate
AG Gary King (the acronym stands for “Aspiring Governor” because everyone knows King makes a lousy “Attorney General” and doesn’t do his job) is one of the Democrat candidates for governor. As such he is showing us by his actions what kind of an office he would run were he to become governor.
Is this clear disregard for the law and willingness to break the law when it fits his purposes what New Mexico needs in Santa Fe? No.
* * *
CALL TO ACTION
Is this what New Mexicans want for governor? Do New Mexicans need a man who ignores the law and breaks it whenever it is convenient for him?