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In New Mexico, County Clerks join lawsuit with hope of getting final ruling on marriage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- County clerks across the state attached themselves to a lawsuit on Thursday that lead to same-gender marriages in some counties across the state.

The goal is to generate an appeal of the district court decision to the New Mexico Supreme Court, where the county clerks hopes to get a final ruling on same-gender marriage that will apply statewide.

The momentum is clearly moving in favor of marriage equality. Since last week, more than half the state's population now live in counties that are now marrying same-gender couples. Los Alamos County is the last one to be ordered to follow suit.

District Judge Alan Malott earlier this week declared that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-gender couples, thus endorsing marriage equality in so many words. His ruling applied to the state's two most-populous counties, Bernalillo and Santa Fe, but the county clerks in those counties were not planning on appealing Malott's decision.

Meanwhile, county clerks statewide decided on the need to have a marriage policy that applied for all of New Mexico, and Judge Malott allowed them to join the lawsuit so that an appeal could be set up.

New Mexico is the only U.S. state without any position on same-gender marriage. To date, only a handful of Republican legislators are threatening legal action to stop the marriages. Gary King, the state's Attorney General, says any perceived prohibition of same-gender marriage is unconstitutional.

The New Mexico Supreme Court has turned down two cases related to marriage equality, but this appeal could force the justices to take up the issue for once and for all.