ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Bernalillo County issued 111 marriage licenses to same-sex couples by late Tuesday afternoon with at least 29 more couples in line to get one.
While the county clerk's office in Albuquerque wraps up for the evening, other counties are gearing up.
San Miguel, Valencia and Taos county clerks said they're joining in as early as Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday.
The county clerks told KRQE news 13 they're ready to issue licenses to gay couples in their counties after seeing what's happening in Bernalillo County because of a court ruling Monday. That ruling found same-sex marriages were legal under the equal-protection clause of the state constitution.
That led to a very busy day for the county clerk's staff that only began to calm down late in the day.
Karen Schmiege and Patricia Catlett were first in line at the Bernalillo County clerk's office Tuesday morning leading dozens of other couples who got there even before doors opened at 8 a.m.
The couple has been together for 25 years.
"It's really a miracle," Schmiege said. "There was a lot of hard work behind this from so many different people who really were able to put this together and make it happen."
The two even had their ceremony minutes later exchanging vows, rings and signing that official certificate.
Outside a mass wedding took place where 13 same-sex couples married at the same time.
Not everyone is on board, though, as a small Christian group held signs against gay marriage. They said they're praying for the gay couples showing love to them but not to their sins.
"The bottom line is these aren't my words. It's God's words that says that it's wrong," Louis Leyva said. "So they don't have to give and accountability to me. In the end they have to give an accountability to God."
County Clerk Maggie Tolouse-Oliver said she hasn't seen any backlash. Despite the small protest outside, Toulouse Oliver said she hasn't received any calls or emails from people against gay marriage.
The Santa Fe County clerk began issuing licenses last week in response to a court order, and the Taos County clerk will begin issuing licenses Wednesday after a ruling there. The San Miguel and Valencia county clerks said they, too, will begin issuing licenses after reviewing the Bernalillo County ruling.
The sudden change in allowing same-sex licenses began Thursday with Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins who said his review of state law showed it to be gender-neutral on who can marry.
Previous coverage Tuesday:
Dozens of same-sex couples were in line waiting for the doors to open at the Bernalillo County clerk's office Tuesday morning to get their marriage licenses.
Same-sex couples are getting married at Civic Plaza Tuesday afternoon while dozens of others are upstairs in the clerk's office getting their marriage licenses.
"I’m just so happy this came. It's something we've been wanting for a long time,” Randy Warrick said. “We got one of my best friend's here and she's taking pictures so we're just ecstatic, very happy."
Randy Warrick and Chris Porter showed off their official marriage license Tuesday after being together for more than 20 years.
They were one of dozens of couples in line at the clerk's office early Tuesday morning before doors opened at 8 a.m.
Outside, a group of four against gay marriage prayed and held signs in opposition.
This comes after a Bernalillo County district court judge's decision Monday that it's unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.
"As soon as that order came down yesterday afternoon, we began making the changes and we had folks coding the software overnight to be ready for this morning,” Bernalillo County Clerkl Maggie Toulouse Oliver said.
As of 12 p.m. Tuesday, the clerk's office said it's issued about 50 licenses to same-sex couples, but they're ready with a 1,000 newly printed gender-neutral licenses.
The Santa Fe County clerk also started issuing licenses last week following a court order from a district court judge there.
Also, the Valencia County clerk could follow suit starting Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday because she now has some legal precedent to lean on.
A week ago, the Dona Ana County clerk decided on his own to start this all.
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