A Republican US Representative has heavily criticised a New Mexico judge’s ruling earlier this week which paved the way to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in the state.
Representative Steve Pearce, the state’s only Republican on Capitol Hill, described the ruling by District Judge Alan Malott as “reckless”.
Speaking to the Hill, he said: “The reckless actions of this judge acting on personal opinion and ignoring legislative procedure threatens serious confusion, frustration, and pain for those who are being led to believe that the law has changed.”
The New Mexico constitution does not expressively prohibit same-sex couples from marrying but no recognition of same-sex relationships previously existed within the state.
State District Judge Alan Malott handed down the shock ruling on Monday, which stated that equal marriage should be made legal, as he ruled that prohibiting same-sex marriages is a form of sexual discrimination. While supporters were pleased at the ruling, many said it was unexpected.
Six out of the 33 counties in the state have now issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples. Other county clerks are awaiting further guidance on how to proceed.
The county clerk for Doña Ana County, Lynn Ellins, released a statement last Wednesday saying that New Mexico’s marriage laws were “gender neutral” and to ban same-sex couples from marrying violated the United States Constitution and he went onto say that “I see no reason to make committed couples in Dona Ana County wait another minute to marry.”
Outside of New Mexico, thirteen states currently allow equal marriage, and 35 states specifically prohibit it. The Governor of the US state of Hawaii on Wednesday moved to push lawmakers into beginning the process of legalising equal marriage, as advocates speculate that the island state could be the fourteenth to allow same-sex marriage.