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Other Cities Taking SF's Lead: Gay Couples Exchange Vows In Bernalillo, N.M.
BERNALILLO, N.M. -- Gay and lesbian couples lined up Friday outside a courthouse to tie the knot after a county clerk said she would grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
An Albuquerque pastor said he married more than a dozen same-sex couples outside the Sandoval County Courthouse by Friday afternoon.
Among those married by the Rev. David Gant of Albuquerque's Emmanuel Metro Community Church are Robin Smith and Jerri Rodriguez of Albuquerque.
Smith teared up and said this was the happiest day of her life.
The Sandoval County clerk's decision to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples surprised supporters and opponents of gay marriages.
Linda Siegle is a lobbyist representing the Coalition for Equality in New Mexico, a statewide advocacy group for equal rights.
She said she assumes clerk Victoria Dunlap is issuing the licenses to force some kind of decision on the issue in New Mexico.
Siegle said the matter now has been pushed to the forefront for her group, which will conduct a statewide campaign in favor of same-sex marriages.
Two state senators asked the state attorney general for an opinion on whether it's legal to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
Sam Thompson, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Patricia Madrid, said the request came from Democrat Tim Jennings, of Roswell, and Steve Komadina, of Corrales.
Thompson said the office hasn't yet seen a request on the matter from Sandoval County Commission Chairman Daymon Ely.
Thompson said the Attorney General's office received a request from the Republican Party, but the office only can respond to opinion requests from elected officials.
Thompson said Madrid realizes the issue is of great public importance and has asked her staff to address the issue as soon as possible.
Thompson said an opinion could be issued next week.
A county clerk issued marriage licenses Friday to at least 15 gay couples, some of whom then exchanged vows outside the courthouse, as more same-sex couples lined up for a chance to tie the knot.
A sign-up list at Sandoval County courthouse grew to 38 couples after county clerk Victoria Dunlap announced she would issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.