poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

New Mexico supreme court asked to block same-sex marriages

The New Mexico supreme court is reviewing a petition from the state attorney general asking for an order to halt a county clerk's imminent plans to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. "We are asking the New Mexico supreme court to require the Sandoval County clerk to follow the law and not issue any same-sex marriage licenses," Attorney General Patricia Madrid said Tuesday. The court was reviewing the petition on Wednesday, but no hearing was immediately scheduled, a court clerk said. Sandoval County clerk Victoria Dunlap, who issued 66 marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples February 20, has said she plans to resume issuing licenses on Friday after a temporary restraining order expires. The order was issued a week ago by a judge who subsequently withdrew from the case, leaving open a window for same-sex couples to obtain licenses until another judge can be appointed.


Attorney general refuses to assist Romney in blocking gay marriage

The politics of the gay marriage debate in Massachusetts have now moved from the legislative branch to the executive branch, with Gov. Mitt Romney and Atty. Gen. Thomas F. Reilly sparring over whether the state should ask its highest court to delay same-sex marriages until voters can cast ballots on a constitutional amendment banning them. Following the state legislature's approval Monday of a proposed amendment to the Massachusetts constitution banning gay marriage but allowing civil unions, Romney called on Reilly to ask the supreme judicial court for a stay on its mandate that same-sex couples be issued marriage licenses beginning May 17, at least until state residents get a chance to vote on the amendment, which would be November 2006 at the earliest. On Tuesday, Romney asked Reilly to appoint a special assistant to handle the request if the attorney general himself were unwilling. Romney said he wants to prevent any confusion that could ensue if gay marriages take place beginning in May and are then outlawed by voters--a separate question, he argued, from the issue of the constitutionality of gay marriage as ruled on by the high court in November.

Many out-of-state couples barred from marrying in Massachusetts

Massachusetts's attorney general said a 91-year-old state law prevents the state from issuing marriage licenses to couples whose marriage would be illegal in their home state, an interpretation that could block gay couples from 39 states from tying the knot there. Atty. Gen. Thomas F. Reilly said Tuesday that when gay matrimony becomes legal in Massachusetts, it will apply only to Massachusetts residents and couples who live in states were no current law expressly defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Reilly based his decision on a 1913 state law that prevents out-of-staters from getting married in Massachusetts if they are ineligible for marriage in the state where they reside. Thirty-nine states have so-called defense of marriage laws that define marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman. "In those states...where same-sex marriage is not lawful, [same-sex couples] are not entitled and cannot be lawfully married here," Reilly said. "This [court] opinion is rather limited, in terms of Massachusetts residents who are entitled to these rights."


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