Wednesday News Roundup: NM Court Considers Legalizing Gay Marriage

Oct 23, 2013

NM Court Considers Legalizing Gay Marriage - Associated Press

New Mexico's highest court is stepping into the fray over gay marriage and could set a statewide precedent at a time when some counties grant the unions and others don't.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments from lawyers Wednesday. The court will issue a decision later.

At issue is a ruling by an Albuquerque district court judge that it's unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

County clerks statewide have asked the justices to clarify the law. Eight of the 33 clerks, some in response to orders by lower courts, are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

New Mexico law doesn't explicitly prohibit or authorize gay marriage. Proposals to ban or allow same-sex marriage have failed in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Protesters Rally Against NM Teacher Evaluations - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

Hundreds of teachers and their supporters gathered on the field of an Albuquerque high school to protest a new state teacher evaluation program and student testing methods.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that at least 600 people held a relatively peaceful protest Tuesday afternoon at Del Norte High School.

Kathy Korte, vice-president of Albuquerque Public Schools' Board of Education, says Gov. Susana Martinez and education chief Hanna Skandera shouldn't implement the evaluation system.

Attorney General Gary King and APS Superintendent Winston Brooks were also present but did not speak.

Several teachers voiced their opposition, saying the new system and extra student testing leaves little time for actual teaching.

Demonstrators had signs with messages such as "less testing, more learning" and "Please, give me back my time to teach."

Managers Aim To Capture Wolves In Arizona, NM - Associated Press

Wildlife managers have resumed efforts to capture and remove from the wild three Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initially authorized the captures in August and September, saying several livestock kills over the last year were linked to the Fox Mountain pack in New Mexico and the Paradise pack in Arizona.

Efforts to capture one of the Fox Mountain wolves and the alpha male and female of the Paradise pack had been put on hold during the government shutdown.

With work resuming, environmentalists argue that removing the wolves will undermine efforts to grow the population. The federal government has been working for 15 years to reintroduce wolves to the Southwest.

Wildlife officials are also investigating the death of a wolf found in New Mexico in September.

State Senator Joins Race For NM Governor - Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City has joined the race for governor in a bid to unseat Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Morales announced his candidacy Tuesday in his southwestern New Mexico hometown, saying he was "ready to take on a political system that no longer works for our people."

Attorney General Gary King and Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque also are seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Morales said the next governor needs to improve the state's economy and public education.

He was appointed to the Senate in 2008, filling a vacancy created by the death of Sen. Ben Altamirano. Morales won election that year and was re-elected in 2012.

Morales is a hospital administrator, but previously was Grant County clerk. He started his career as a special education teacher