District Judge Alan Malott’s ruling earlier this week cleared the way for county clerks in the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
It came in the wake of a separate but similar ruling, and after another county clerk’s office took it upon itself to begin issuing licenses in the southern part of the state.
After the ruling, the three most populous counties in the state — Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Dona Ana — have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Before the New Mexico ruling, 13 states allowed gay marriage while 35 held some restrictions on it. New Mexico was a unique case since there are no state provisions regarding same-sex marriage.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King (D), who is running for governor, said he would not appeal the ruling. Earlier in the year, he issued a finding that New Mexico law would likely be interpreted to ban same-sex marriage, but that ban would likely be unconstitutional.
A number of Republican state lawmakers have vowed to file suit to halt the marriage licenses from going out. Pearce’s office did not say whether he supports that plan.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to gay couples. The justices also avoided a ruling on a ban on same-sex marriage in California, essentially clearing the way for same-sex marriage in the state to resume.