ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Two New Mexico counties are now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Now, some wedding chapels have opened their doors to these couples as they tie the knot.
But there are still some questions about legalities when it comes to same-sex marriages, and what it means for local churches.
Plenty of people have been celebrating, calling same-sex marriage a civil rights issue. But if so, can churches be forced to host same-sex weddings?
"This has nothing to do with what goes on in the bedroom, it has to do with equality," said Rev. Pearl Gabaldon, who runs the Celebration of Love Wedding Chapel in Albuquerque.
Gabaldon is among those celebrating since news spread like wildfire that Doña Ana and Santa Fe counties are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"I think it's about time. I think that i'ts what we need to do and I couldn't be happier," Gabaldon said.
She's opened her doors at the San Mateo chapel and the drive-thru chapel in Nob Hill to anyone who wants to marry.
"My phone just rang off the hook," Gabaldon said, "asking me if I'd be willing to do gay union and, certainly."
Several couples married in the Santa Fe County Commission chambers after getting licenses. So, can churches face legal ramifications for denying same-sex ceremonies?
The question may bring to mind the photographer in Albuquerque who refused to take pictures at a same-sex couple's commitment ceremony in 2006, citing her Christian beliefs.
The state Supreme Court said her refusal violated New Mexico's Human Rights Act, the same as if she had refused a couple of different races.
However, the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops told KRQE News 13 the constitution protects churches with freedom of religion and that the Catholic Church will not perform same-sex weddings.
The Bernalillo County Clerk isn't issuing same-sex marriage licenses yet. Still, Gabaldon said she's looking forward to officiating legal same-sex weddings for couples who get their licenses in other New Mexico counties.
"I'm in the love business. I couldn't be happier," said Gabaldon.
The state Supreme Court has not ruled on same-sex marriage. The Attorney General said earlier this week, he will not take action against county clerks, adding, "it's a lot safer course for same sex couples to wait until the New Mexico Supreme Court rules before moving forward."
Santa Fe began issuing licenses to same-sex couples Friday following a court order from the district judge.
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