BY JERI CLAUSING AND RUSSELL CONTERAS, ASSOCIATED PRESS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- More than 100 people were lined up in Albuquerque Tuesday morning as the clerk in New Mexico's most populous county began issuing marriages licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
The clerk opened her office to the crowd at 8 a.m., and a mass wedding was planned at noon in Albuquerque's Civic Plaza.
Patricia Catlett, a 61-year-old graphic designer from Albuquerque, and her partner of 25 years, Karen Schmiege, a 69-year-old retired librarian, were the first to get their license in Bernalillo County.
"I am so excited I can't stand it," Schmiege said as they were signing their papers.
As they walked out of the booth where they received their license, the crowd applauded and yelled in celebration. The couple raised their hand, and the crowd responded by putting their fists in the air.
"I want her to take me to Costa Rica," said Schmiege. "She promised."
The Bernalillo County Clerk joined clerks from the state's other two population centers in recognizing same-sex unions after a judge Monday declared gay marriage legal.
State District Judge Alan Malott on Monday ruled New Mexico's constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.