The judge who issued a court order barring a county clerk in New Mexico from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples withdrew from the case on Monday, possibly clearing the way for more licenses to be granted. Judge Kenneth Brown offered no reason for recusing himself. On March 23 he issued a temporary restraining order against Sandoval County clerk Victoria Dunlap. A hearing on the restraining order had been set for Friday, the day the order expires. The hearing will now be postponed until a new judge is chosen. Dunlap said she'll resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples "if we're not barred by the court."
On February 20, Dunlap issued 66 marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples before Atty. Gen. Patricia Madrid ruled they were not valid. Dunlap's attorney, Paul Livingston, maintains that state law supports gender neutrality and equal rights. "We may have the unique situation of having no law against it," he said.