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San Miguel County Clerk ready to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Olivier Uyttebrouck/Journal
Patricia Catlett, 61, left, and Karen Schmiege, 69, seated in center, were the first couple to apply for a marriage certificate this morning at the Bernalillo County clerk's office. They have been partners for 25 years.
Olivier Uyttebrouck/Journal Patricia Catlett, 61, left, and Karen Schmiege, 69, seated in center, were the first couple to apply for a marriage certificate this morning at the Bernalillo County clerk's office. They have been partners for 25 years.
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San Miguel County Clerk Melanie Rivera, in Las Vegas,  says she’s preparing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, joining her counterparts in Bernalillo, Dona Ana and Santa Fe counties.

Rivera is not under a court order to do so. She said she had received numerous phone calls asking about same-sex licenses. After consulting with the county attorney she decided to go ahead.

She has ordered forms from a printer and expects them by Friday. Couples can come in today and receive a license today but she will have to alter the existing forms, Rivera said.

Nearly four dozen same-sex couples received marriage licenses within the first two hours after the Bernalillo County Clerk’s office opened for business at 8 a.m. this morning.

“This is important, this is huge!” said Meg Colby, 67, of Albuquerque.

Colby and her longtime partner Anne Hubbard, 68, were among 46 couples who received a license by 9:45 a.m.

“We never expected this to happen in our life times, now we can say it out loud in public, we’ve been married for 18 years,” Colby said.

She said the couple have no immediate plans for a marriage ceremony.

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver said yesterday that she would begin issuing licenses this morning, after receiving the go-ahead in a ruling by District Court Judge Alan Malott.

Advocacy groups ProgressNow New Mexico and Equality New Mexico plan to host same-sex wedding ceremonies on the Albuquerque Civic Plaza at noon for newly licensed couples, according to a joint statement released this morning.

 

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