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In the middle years of the 19th century, as old political factions were collapsing, there emerged a political party calling itself the “Know Nothings.”
It took its name, “Know Nothings,” from the fact that certain of its members admitted that they didn’t know what the party stood for.
Traces of that mindset persists in our affairs even today and it behooves us to remedy that.
We can start with 1868, when the United States Constitution was amended for only the fourteenth time by stipulating that no state “shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Sixty years into statehood, the voters of New Mexico amended their state Constitution making it explicit that no person within its jurisdiction “shall be denied equal protection of the laws.”
There is nothing ambiguous about these two constitutional provisions. Nothing!
So how could anybody have been the least surprised last week when county clerks in a number of New Mexico counties, including the three most populous, sanctioned by state courts, began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples who applied for them.
A marriage license is just that: a civil document authorizing the person(s) to whom it is granted to do something without which he or she could not otherwise lawfully do.
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