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Around New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gay Wedding Case May Go to Top Court

Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund say they intend to ask the state Supreme Court to review a New Mexico Court of Appeals decision finding that an Albuquerque photography studio violated the state Human Rights Act by refusing to take photos of a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony.

The appellate court upheld a district court ruling and the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.

Sexual orientation is among categories covered by the act.

The commission ruled that the company, run by a young Christian husband and wife, was guilty of sexual orientation discrimination.

“Americans in the marketplace should not be subjected to legal attacks for simply abiding by their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence in a news release Tuesday.

$385,000 Set Aside in Trapping Suit

LAS CRUCES – The Department of Game and Fish has set aside $385,000 to hire private legal counsel to defend a federal lawsuit over the state’s authorization of wildlife trapping in an area designated for the recovery of the Mexican gray wolf, a conservation group says.

WildEarth Guardians sued the state Game and Fish Department manager and Game Commission chairman in February for allowing trapping in the southwestern New Mexico portion of a wolf recovery area.

The conservation group’s federal lawsuit alleges that both regulated and unregulated trapping violate the Endangered Species Act because the state has not exercised “due care” to prevent harm to wolves.

Since 2002, traps have caught 14 Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona, including two wolves that died and two that had to have limbs amputated.

A survey at the end of 2011 counted 58 wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. Federal officials had projected that more than 100 wolves would inhabit the two-state recovery area by the end of 2006.

Gun Dealer Gets 5 Years in Trafficking

Ian Garland, 51, a federally licensed firearms dealer who did business as Chaparral Guns in Chaparral, was sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison for his role in a firearms trafficking operation.

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Brack also ordered three years of supervised release.

Garland pleaded guilty last July to conspiracy and six counts of making false statements in the acquisition of firearms, admitting that he aided and abetted the straw purchases of approximately 193 firearms that were bought at his business. He is the third of 12 convicted defendants, including former village of Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega, former Columbus Trustee Blas Gutierrez and former Columbus Mayor Eddie Espinoza, to be sentenced in this case.

Garland also admitted that he agreed to allow multiple purported purchasers to falsely state on forms that he or she was the actual buyer of the firearms, and that they were then transferred to the co-conspirators who knew they were being sent to Mexico.
— This article appeared on page C3 of the Albuquerque Journal

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