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State high court to hear same-sex marriage case

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By Associated Press

 

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's highest court has scheduled a hearing next month in a case that could resolve whether gay marriage is legal in the state.

The state Supreme Court on Friday set the hearing for Oct. 23.

The five-member court took the step a day after New Mexico's counties and county clerks statewide filed a petition asking the justices to decide whether a judge in Albuquerque was correct in declaring it unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

More than 900 marriage licenses have been issued in New Mexico since Aug. 21, when the Dona Ana County clerk decided independently that gay marriage was allowed in the state. Seven other counties have started issuing licenses to same-sex couples or plan to do that, several in response to court orders.

New Mexico's 33 counties asked the state's highest court Thursday to decide whether gay marriageis legal in the state and to stop the spread of lawsuits that have forced some county officials to start issuing marriagelicenses to same-sex couples.

The New Mexico Association of Counties and clerks statewide filed a petition seeking clarity in a legal dispute that has changed rapidly in the past two weeks since a southern New Mexico clerk independently began issuing marriagelicenses to gayand lesbian couples.


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