Sanctity of Marriage Alive, Well

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The number of marriage licenses issued this year remains steady

By Kirsten Laskey

As of Tuesday morning, Jim Miller and Lynn Miller were the newest married couple in Los Alamos.
The bride and groom wore identical blue jeans and white button-down shirts. A small wedding party gathered in the court room to witness the couple’s union, which Magistrate Judge Pat Casados officiated.
Tears and hugs were shared as Casados proclaimed them husband and wife.
Before the ceremony started, Lynn joked about her and her husband already having the same last name. “When we get married, he will take my name,” she said.
The number of marriages in Los Alamos has held steady over the years. From Jan. 1 through Monday, 97 marriage licenses were issued, deputy clerk Naomi Maestas  said.
Last year, there were 99 licenses issued and in 2008 the number was 98, Maestas said.
The ages of individuals coming in for a marriage license vary, she added, but the majority is between 20 and 35 years old. She said a lot of people come in for marriage licenses in the summer time but requests also come in mid-December.
Not all marriages have a happy ending, however.
 This year, there were 23 recorded divorces, that did not deal with minor-aged children, according the First Judicial Court administrative office. The number of custody cases totaled 31 this year. The number of disposed custody cases was 54.  The First Judicial Court administrative office explained the number is a result of cases being opened and closed more than once.
No matter the age or the time of year, Casados said she loves to officiate weddings.
“I love doing weddings. They range from the very simple to the very funny and some I just want to cry,” she said.
Besides participating in very touching ceremonies, Casados said she has experienced some very unique ones. She recalls one wedding where the best man and the maid of honor were dogs.  In this instance, they did not sign the marriage license, Casados joked.
During another wedding, when Casados told the groom he could kiss his bride, she remembers the groom saying to his wife, “You didn’t tell me there would be kissing.”
Casados said she has performed weddings in a number of areas throughout town including the Magistrate Court, the Rose Garden and Ashley Pond.  She also traveled outside of Los Alamos to Jemez Springs, Nambé and Albuquerque.
For some reason, she added, her busiest month to officiate is October.
Casados said she enjoys being a part of weddings because it is one of the times where people are happy to be in a courtroom.
“I always laugh. It’s a happy time. People actually want to be there. A lot of times when people are at court, they don’t want to be there,” Casados said. “I get to be at a happy occasion. It’s generally a happy time. It’s such a contrast to some of things I do in the robe as a judge.”
It doesn’t matter if it is for a young couple or an older one, a first marriage or a second one; Casados said there is value in them all.  “Every one is a special ceremony and I try and make it special for them,” she said.