Santa Fe elects gay mayor

Javier GonzalesOn Tuesday, Santa Fe elected out candidate Javier Gonzales, 47, as mayor. Two of the city’s eight city council members are lesbian. So was one of his two opponents in the mayoral race.

Gonzales served four terms as chairman of New Mexico’s Democratic Party and was appointed to the Board of Regents of New Mexico State University by former Gov. Bill Richardson.

He has two daughters.

Santa Fe’s city races are publicly funded. Each candidate was given $60,000 for their campaigns.

Gonzales will be sworn in on Monday.

—  David Taffet

N.M. legislators may file challenge to marriage equality in Las Cruces

Las Cruces

Las Cruces, N.M.

Another 40 same-sex couples married in Dona Ana County, N.M. on Thursday, the second day County Clerk Lynn Ellins was issuing marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.

While the county viewed the licenses as legal and the marriages as valid, it remained unclear what the status of those marriages was outside the county, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported, however, that about two dozen Republican legislators plans to file a lawsuit to stop the county clerk.

New Mexico marriage laws are gender neutral and there is no prohibition of same-sex marriage. Only divorce law mentions husband and wife. So, as in other marriage-inequality states, obtaining a divorce will be a problem.

Unclear is how the federal government will view these marriages since this is the only state where marriage-equality is not statewide.

But just as unclear is who would have standing to challenge the marriages. In San Francisco, when Mayor Gavin Newsom began performing same-sex weddings, the state stepped in and issued an injunction. In 2004, Sandoval County, just north of Albuquerque, issued more than 60 marriage licenses to same-sex couples before a court injunction stopped it after about a month and invalidated the marriages.

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King announced he would not intervene. The governor also opposes same-sex marriage and said she would like the issued decided by voters. But she’s given no indication she will step in to stop the Ellins.

The Prop 8 ruling in June made it clear that for someone else to intervene, they would have to first convince a court that they had standing by having suffered some injury as a result of someone else getting married.

The state lawmakers plan to file a lawsuit claiming Ellins doesn’t have a right to change the law, only the legislature does. However, Ellins did not make or change the law. New Mexico law does not prohibit same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of a run for Santa Fe mayor, former New Mexico Democratic Party Chair Javier Gonzales came out as gay. And editorials in the state’s newspapers are running in favor of  and against other county clerks doing the same thing.

—  David Taffet

2 New Mexico couples sue for marriage equality

NM_Plaintiffs_w_Names_in_Caption

Plaintiffs Kim Kiel, Rose Griego, Miriam Rand and Ona Lara Porter

After Sante Fe mayor David Coss called on New Mexico’s county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, two lesbian couples filed a lawsuit against the state after their marriage licenses were denied in Bernalillo County.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and local attorneys are representing the couples.

New Mexico is the only state whose marriage laws have always been ambiguous. The constitution does not specifically ban same-sex marriage nor does it allow it.

One couple lives in Albuquerque and the other in Sante Fe, but both applied in Albuquerque, which is the county seat of Bernalillo County.

The full text of the ACLU press release is below.

—  David Taffet

Twist Dallas at LBG tonight

Let the music play

SuZanne Kimbrell made major tweaks to this latest edition of Twist Dallas. First and foremost, the event moves to Thursday nights, and while this show continues at Lakewood Bar & Grill, she expects that the July show will be in a different venue.

Also, the lineup here is tighter with four performers on the bill (Kimbrell included), but she’s pulled together another eclectic group of performers. Guitarist Natalie Velasquez, David Siuba from Santa Fe and the sultry soul and slick guitar rock of Robinson Hall led by queer vocalist Jackie Hall.

Visual artist Sylwester Zabielski will have his photography and film work on display.

DEETS: Lakewood Bar and Grill, 6340 Gaston Ave., on May 19 at 8 p.m. $10. TwistDallas.com.

—  Rich Lopez

In 6 months, 1,300 same-sex marriages in Argentina

Casa Rosada, or Red House, is the presidential palace where the Argentine marriage law was signed six months ago

In the first six months since the same-sex marriage law was signed, almost 1,300 couples have registered through the registry office. And the wedding rate is rising, according to the Argentine newspaper Clarin.

Clarin reports that on Jan. 15, the Argentina Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (FALGBT) had recorded 1,283 marriages in all provinces, although the distribution is not proportional, since most occur in large urban centers.

Recording the most marriages was the province of Buenos Aires (490) and the city of Buenos Aires (465). Other regions reporting include Santa Fe with 90, Cordova with 85 and Mendoza with 47. They say “sexual diversity in the more conservative provinces takes more time.”

Of the couples married, 70 percent are males who have been together 12-15 years. Possible explanations from FALGBT are because their lives are already consolidated and for health reasons they need to take care of each other. Younger couples prefer to try living together before marriage.

“Today there is no rush, because it is a right and may be exercised at any time,” says the head of FALGBT.

He said the first to marry were militants who brought the issue to the public. But now that the law has been in effect for awhile, many more are taking advantage and the rate of couples marrying is increasing.

Now, after marrying, a growing number of couples are beginning the process of adoption.

How has life changed for those who have married? One married woman says it is symbolic that the state recognizes her relationship and protects her at work and reassures her that if something happens to her, her wife has the tools to protect her. Another says it has to do with dignity, respect and having a sense of equality as well as the civil rights she can access through the law.

—  David Taffet

Beyond the Box to become pizzeria; developer says closure not a sign that ilume is struggling

Owner Doug Brown is shown inside Beyond the Box on the day it opened in early December.

Beyond the Box, an upscale deli/restaurant/convenience store that was one of three retailers at ilume on Cedar Springs, closed last week about eight months after opening.

Luke Crosland, chairman and CEO of ilume developer the Crosland Group, said Beyond the Box likely will be replaced in the near future by a “unique pizzeria.”

Beyond the Box just wasn’t the right fit, Crosland said, and the closure shouldn’t be viewed as any indication that the posh mixed-use development is struggling.

“I want to be positive about it because [Beyond the Box owner] Doug [Brown] is a great chef, and he’s the executive chef at Dish,” Crosland said.

“We’re going to use most of the items in the restaurant, and I think we’re going to have a better-for-the-neighborhood operation,” he added. “When you’ve got Kroger across the street, and you don’t have to drive, maybe the idea of having prepared food rather than served food was not the right component.”

Crosland said a sushi lounge is slated to open at ilume sometime in September. Also in the works are a restaurant from the executive chef at Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, N.M.; and a salon/nail and facial spa.

Crosland said residential units at ilume are now 90 percent occupied, with only about 29 units remaining.

“We’re doing extremely well,” he said. “I’m real excited about the formula we’ve got there.”

The Crosland Group also plans another development, ilume TOO, across Cedar Springs at the site of the old Douglas Park and 4242 Cedar Springs apartments. Crosland said the company is working to obtain financing for ilume TOO.

—  John Wright

Gay getaway: Taos Gay Pride

I’ve written a few articles recently about traveling to New Mexico — including Santa Fe and Red River — but here’s another good reason: Taos is holding its first-ever official Gay Pride Weekend next month.

From Aug. 20 to 22, the artsy town along the Enchanted Circle will stage a variety of events. Among those scheduled are the Gayla La fundraiser, a dance party that culminates with the crowing of Gay Pride Taos royalty on Friday, Pride in the Park (including a fashion show and live radio broadcast) on Saturday morning and a “dyke hike” on Sunday. You can mix-and-match airlines and fares to Albuquerque leaving Thursday and make the roundtrip for under $300 — and take in the attractions of Red River and the environs while you’re there.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

I'm headed to Santa Fe just a shade too late

Ford, Flockhart marry.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones