Dona Ana Commissioners vote to support Co. Clerk Ellins

KDBC

4-1 vote supports Ellins' same-sex marriage license decision

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 3:50pm

Dona Ana County Commissioners voted 4-1 to support County Clerk Lynn Ellins decision to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

After a morning-long debate, which included the initial deletion of the agenda item to support Lynn Ellins, Commissioners reversed their decision after a lengthy public comment session.

Last week, Ellins decided to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses in Dona Ana County. Since then, San Miguel County and Valencia County have joined Dona Ana in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Commissioners first voted 3 to 2 and removed item from agenda supporting the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However scores of Dona Ana County residents were lined up and ready to speak their mind on the issue.

Commission Chair Billy Garrett had wanted to limit the discussion for an hour, but as Garrett's hour deadline approached, there were still 25 residents lined up to speak on the issue. Most were in favor of the issue, thanking Ellins for his decision.

After a brief break Commissioners continued to hear public comment, including from a state representative. Rep. Bill McCamley spoke before commissioners saying that Wednesday was one of his proudest moments as a public official.

At the conclusion of public comment, Chair Garrett said the board would reconsider adding support item to agenda. Commissioner Leticia Benavidez made the motion to have the resolution supporting Ellins reconsidered and Commissioner Wayne Hancock seconded it.

Commissioner Benjamin Rawson said the issue should be decided at the state level; while Hancock stated that it would be appropriate for board to take on the issue.

Benavidez then added that she supports same-sex marriage, but she had initial questions that prompted her to vote in postponing item earlier in the session.

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