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      Bernalillo county told to issue same-sex marriage licenses

      ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The clerk for New Mexico's most populous county planned to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples Tuesday after a state district judge declared same-sex marriage legal.

      State District Judge Alan Malott on Monday ruled New Mexico's constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, ordering Bernalillo County to join the state's other two population centers in recognizing the unions.

      The decision comes on the heels of an order last week from a judge in Santa Fe that directed the county clerk there to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That followed a decision by the clerk in the southern New Mexico county of Dona Ana to recognize same-sex couples.

      But Malott's ruling was seen as more sweeping than the temporary Santa Fe order because he directly declared that gay marriage was legal.


      Associated Press writer Barry Massey in Santa Fe contributed to this report.

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