N.M. County Officials Resign Over Marriage Equality

The clerk of Roosevelt County and her chief deputy have declined to handle marriage licenses for gay couples.

BY Trudy Ring

December 20 2013 4:14 PM ET

Roosevelt County clerk Donna Carpenter (left) and chief deputy Janet Collins

A county clerk in New Mexico and her chief deputy have resigned rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which every county in the state must now do after a state Supreme Court ruling Thursday.

Roosevelt County clerk Donna Carpenter and her lead deputy, Janet Collins, turned in their resignations this morning, according to ProgressNowNM, a progressive advocacy group that fought for marriage equality. Sources confirmed to the group that the two officials’ objections to same-sex marriage were behind the move.

During the summer, clerks in eight of the state’s 33 counties began granting marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples as a marriage equality suit made its way through New Mexico courts. Carpenter was not among them.

“We respect that these women made a tough decision,” said Pat Davis of ProgressNowNM in a press release. “In the end, their decision to resign is honorable if they feel that they are unable to execute their duties under the law. All of our county clerks deserve credit for coming together to ask for a definitive decision on this issue of equality and we look forward to every clerk in the state offering licenses to every loving couple in their county.”

Roosevelt County is located in eastern New Mexico, on the Texas state line. The county commission will appoint a new clerk.

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