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New Mexico clerk continues fight for same-sex marriage

New Mexico clerk continues fight for same-sex marriage

Sandoval County, N.M., clerk Victoria Dunlap contends that state laws support same-sex marriage and therefore she should be allowed to resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Dunlap, who issued more than 60 marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples during one day in February, asked the state supreme court on Tuesday to dismiss a temporary restraining order that has prevented her from handing out more such licenses. Dunlap, through attorney Paul Livingston, contends that the temporary restraining order, issued by a judge who withdrew from the case months ago, cannot still be in effect and that therefore the window for issuing licenses is open again. State district judge Louis P. McDonald scheduled a status conference for Wednesday to clarify issues in the case. Livingston said he hopes he will be allowed to address the court. "I want to get a chance to say to Judge McDonald and the attorney general that they don't need to be so mean and bitter," Livingston said. "This is a thing that involves joy and people's rights. This is something they should and can allow and shouldn't do it in a spirit of how much you can restrain and control people's lives." The temporary restraining order was by law to be no more than 10 days, Livingston said, although the supreme court extended it until the matter could be heard by the new judge--McDonald. "We're asking for an order dismissing the temporary restraining order and an expression of the court's intent in that regard," Livingston said Tuesday. The high court also was asked to quash a May 7 order that restated the extension of the temporary order. "We're asking the supreme court to let the clerk do her job," Livingston said. "Maybe they just want to let the law work." In her petition to the supreme court, Dunlap said New Mexico laws favor, rather than prohibit, marriages between couples of the same sex. The petition also says the legislature has in the past rejected measures designed to restrict marriage rights for same-sex couples. Livingston's view of the supreme court's extension of the temporary order differs from that of the attorney general's office. He says the high court turned down Atty. Gen. Patricia Madrid's petition for a court order telling Dunlap to stop issuing licenses and to stay the case.

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