Couple was refused a D.C. marriage license when the clerk a…


WASHINGTON – Gavin Clarkson has had a tough few months. In June, he lost a Republican primary in a New Mexico congressional race. Earlier this month, he lost a bid to become New Mexico’s secretary of state.

Then, while trying to get a marriage license on Nov. 20, he had to argue with a District of Columbia Superior Court clerk who apparently didn’t know New Mexico is a state.

Clarkson said the clerk told him she couldn’t accept an international driver’s license and asked for his “New Mexico passport.” Clarkson lives in the Land of Enchantment, but visits the District to see his fiancee.

“I do not have to pass through customs,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post. The incident was first reported by the Las Cruces Sun-News.

He’d plotted his wedding day to fall on his soon-to-be wife’s birthday. Would the plan be thwarted by a bureaucrat who was unaware that New Mexico became the 47th state on Jan. 6, 1912?

After consulting with a supervisor and performing what Clarkson speculated was a Google search, the clerk confirmed that New Mexico was, indeed, a member of the U.S., and the wedding went ahead as planned.

“It was funny looking back on it,” Clarkson said. “It was not very funny at the moment. I was about to go into full lawyer mode.”

As Clarkson’s tale went viral, D.C. Superior Court acknowledged the mistake.

“We understand that a clerk in our Marriage Bureau made a mistake regarding New Mexico’s 106 year history as a state,” Leah Gurowitz, a spokeswoman for the court, said in a statement. “We very much regret the error and the slight delay it caused a New Mexico resident in applying for a DC marriage license.”

Clarkson’s next challenge is planning his honeymoon, slated for spring.

“I’m working on that,” he said. “With all the difficulties with the marriage bureau, we were lucky to get married.”

— The Washington Post

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