A county clerk in New Mexico decided to uphold the state’s constitution guaranteeing “equal rights” by taking it upon himself to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Lynn Ellins, the clerk of Dona Ana County, told local media on Wednesday, "any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act."

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Newlyweds Andrea Hernandez and Maribel Hernandez

Having examined state laws and finding no statutes that “expressly prohibit Dona Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples”, Ellins decided to start issuing the licenses, approving 35 in a single day.

Legal challenges to the non-issuing of same-sex marriage licenses are currently working their way through the courts, but Ellins, having run out of patience with the legal wrangling over the definition of marriage, decided to start issuing the documentation, leading to a rush to the courthouse for many gay couples.

Reported by the Bradenton Herald, Char Ullman, 51, said “I was in a coffee shop grading dissertations when my partner sent me an email saying, 'you want to get married?'. I went home to brush my teeth and headed to the courthouse."

On Wednesday evening, the New Mexico’s Attorney General Gary King indicated that there were no plans to stop the clerk from issuing the licenses. Reported by the New York Times, Ellins said: “If the court tells me to stop, I’ll stop… but until then we’re open for business.

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  • Char Ullman, Carrie Hamblen

    In this image provided by Char Ullman, Ullman, 51, left, and Carrie Hamblen, 45, get married at the Dona Ana County Courthouse in Las Cruces, N.M. on Wednesday Aug. 21, 2013, after receiving a same-sex marriage license. The couple were among the two dozen or so same-sex couples who received same-sex licenses after the county clerk announced he would issue them. (AP Photo/CourtesyChar Ullman)

  • Catherine Martinez and Linda Montoya hold hands as Dona Ana County employee and reverend Jess C. Williams marries them at the Dona Ana County Clerk's Office in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. More than 40 same-sex couples obtained their marriage licenses after the county clerk announced the county would be the first in New Mexico to marry same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)

  • Catherine Martinez and Linda Montoya kiss as Dona Ana County employee and Reverend Jess C. Williams marries them at the Dona Ana County Clerk's Office in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. More than 40 same-sex couples obtained their marriage licenses after the county clerk announced the county would be the first in New Mexico to marry same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)

  • Catherine Martinez and Linda Montoya hug after Dona Ana County employee and Reverend Jess C. Williams married them at the Dona Ana County Clerk's Office in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. More than 40 same-sex couples obtained their marriage licenses after the county clerk announced the county would be the first in New Mexico to marry same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)

  • Sarah Santos and Jamonica Hudgin pose for a picture with their marriage license at the Dona Ana County Clerk's Office in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. More than 40 same-sex couples obtained their marriage licenses after the county clerk announced the county would be the first in New Mexico to marry same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)

  • Andrea Hernandez and Maribel Hernandez kiss as Dona Ana County employee and Reverend Jess C. Williams marries them while Cyndi Lodge (second from left to right) and her daughter Kristin Lodge (first from left to right) and Summer Molina (third from left) take photographs at the Dona Ana County Clerk's Office in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. More than 40 same-sex couples obtained their marriage licenses after the county clerk announced the county would be the first in New Mexico to marry same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)

  • Victor Villalpando-Saenz and Nico Villalpando-Saenz hold hands after being married at the Dona Ana County Clerk's Office in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. More than 40 same-sex couples obtained their marriage licenses after the county clerk announced the county would be the first in New Mexico to marry same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)