Dona Ana County Commissioners Support Marriage Equality

Aug 27, 2013

It’s only been a week since Sarah Finke and heather Oesterreich married outside the Dona Ana County Government Building.

The attitude this week was one of sobriety instead of celebration. Both those in favor and those opposed had to come to terms with whether this was legal or not.

That’s something the county commission would decide.

On the agenda -- item number 17 – a resolution supporting marriage equality and county clerk Lynn Ellins’ decision to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

“The happiness that I and my dedicated staff…has seen has been overwhelming,” said Ellins.

One supporter, Tony Hernandez, said she was brought into the issue of marriage equality when her son came out to her as gay.

“I’ll be real honest I didn’t understand…it took a little bit to digest but you know what, I love him. He is my child. He is who he is.”

You may remember pastor Linda Mervine. She’s the pastor who performed the marriage ceremony for Sarah and Heather outside this same building the very first day licenses were issued.

“What has been joined together, let no one put asunder.”

On her way to the overflow room holding the crowds that came this week, i asked her about that first day.

It’s one she likely won’t forget.

“It certainly was an incredible honor to actually sign the marriage license…pronounce two people of the same gender as married.”

Another religious leader is here, the lead pastor of the Las Cruces First Assembly of God, David Vistine.

He says the differences are too much for him right now.

“There’s gonna be a divide between us. I don’t think we’re ever gonna agree with the other side of this issue. We see that the same sex marriage is the opposite of what we believe and so it’s hard to bridge that gap.

The commission approved the resolution 4 – 1.

Ellins is allowed to continue issuing the licenses for now.

Until the debate comes up again, Vistine said something both sides can agree on.

“This is a real issue… it’s not gonna go away.”