Gavin Clarkson from Las Cruces, N.M., talks at the Albuquerque Agency in The Associated Press earlier this year. On November…
Russell Contreras / AP
A New Mexico man applying for a marriage permit in Washington, DC, had rejected his state of affairs as a form of identification this month because an clerk and her supervisor thought New Mexico was a foreign country.
Gavin Clarkson, a Las Cruces, NM, resident, said he was at the District of Columbia Marriage Bureau on November 20, applying for a license to marry his fiancée when their nuptial plans struck a short halt. The office clerk told him that he would need an international passport on the apparent belief that he was not a US citizen.
“She thought New Mexico was a foreign country,” he said about the clerk quoted by Las Cruces Sun News. “All the couples behind us who waited in line laughed.”
Clarkson was recently a candidate for the New Mexico government and is a member of the Choctaw Nation. He said he protested the clerk’s decision to his supervisor, who also failed to recognize New Mexico as a country.
“You know you’re from the airport when you apply for a marriage license, give them your New Mexico license, and they’ll be back saying” my supervisor says we can not accept international driving licenses. Do you have a New Mexico pass? “” Clarkson tweeted .
It was not until Clarkson returned to the clerk again and insisted that his license’s driving license was a legitimate form of identification that the clerk finally agreed to accept it and issue him a marriage license.
A District Spokesman for District of Columbia Courts acknowledged the error.
“We understand that a clerk in our marriage agency made a mistake about New Mexico’s 106-year history as a state,” said Leah H. Gurowitz, Media Director and PR for DC Courts, in an email to Sun-News . “We regret the mistake and the small delay that caused a residence in New Mexico when applying for a DC marriage license.”
Clarkson and his now husband Marina, a naturalized citizen from Argentina, said the whole meeting lasted about 20 minutes and eventually they were married with a good story to tell about the process.
Clarksons citizenship was not the only thing that stood for the priest. Marina Clarkson speaks fluent English, but with a small accent. However, the clerk Gavin, not Marina, complimented his language behavior. The left Marina wondered, “Why do you compliment him on his English?”