Sued NM County Clerk Uses Social Media For Legal Expenses
LAS CRUCES - A New Mexico county clerk facing a lawsuit over his decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses is using social media and other means to solicit outside support for legal expenses.
Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins hopes backers of same-sex marriage will help pay legal fees from a pending lawsuit filed by state Republican lawmakers, as he moves to defend his decision to issue the licenses, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
Ellins independently began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples two weeks ago. Since then, seven other New Mexico counties followed - some because of court orders in response to lawsuits by same-sex couples.
Ellins says he "felt it was inappropriate" to use county resources to pay the legal fees, because the case involves polarizing topics. Taxpayers who disagree with his stance shouldn’t be forced to pay for a lawsuit he sparked, Ellins said.
He plans to cover the costs using donations and a portion of county insurance that covers legal fees. Ellins said he has not engaged the services of the county’s legal department.
A group of Republican legislators filed a lawsuit last week in 3rd Judicial District Court, alleging Ellins, a Democrat, overstepped his authority and violated the New Mexico Constitution. In the lawsuit, the seven legislators ask the court to invalidate all same-sex marriage licenses issues since Aug. 21.