Stover to wait until Tuesday to make decision on marriage license

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By John Severance

Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover released the following statement that she is going to wait until Tuesday to make a decision on whether to abide by a court order.

District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson signed a writ of mandamus or court order Thursday, which orders Stover to issue a marriage license to residents  Janet Newton and Maria Thibodeau.

Newton and Thibodeau filed a complaint in district court Wednesday after being denied a license by County Clerk Sharon Stover on Tuesday.

Here is the statement from Stover: 
“Late this morning, Los Alamos County received a complete package of documentation regarding a recent lawsuit filed against Los Alamos County and related order from First Judicial District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson for the Clerk’s office to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Judge Raphaelson’s order stated that I should begin issuing the licenses or appear before her in court on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 10 a.m. to explain why the licenses are not being issued.

“I consider this to be a matter of great importance, not only to Los Alamos County, but to all County Clerks in New Mexico, as I have already indicated by my support in joining all of the other Clerks in the New Mexico Association of Counties’ request for the State Supreme Court to provide procedural guidance on how we should proceed.  It requires my careful thought and consideration for everyone involved.  

“I have not had adequate time yet to review the documentation we just received with our County Attorney, and thus I am not ready to make a statement to media about whether or not I will comply with Judge Raphaelson’s request at this time. I do plan to review the lawsuit and court order on Tuesday, confer with the Attorney and then make my decision. I will issue a statement to media on Tuesday regarding my decision no later than 4:00 p.m. Thank you for your understanding and patience as I evaluate my options and weigh my decision carefully over the next few days.”

Armed with a  court order from Raphaelson, Newton and Thibodeau went to the Los Alamos County Clerk’s office in the Municipal Building in an attempt to get a marriage license.

Deputy clerk Sheryl Nichols told them that Stover and County Attorney Rebecca Ehler had just received all the documentation of the court case and they still had to go through it.

Newton and Thibodeau both said they understood and left without a license.

Read more about the issue in Sunday’s Los Alamos Monitor including comments from the couple.