New Mexico man applying for marriage license with DC courts told he needs passport

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A New Mexico man applying for a marriage license in Washington, D.C., last month encountered two workers there who thought his state was a foreign country.

Gavin Clarkson told the Las Cruces Sun-News that a clerk with the District of Columbia Courts Marriage Bureau told him his New Mexico driver’s license could not be used as proof of identity. Instead, the clerk said, Clarkson would have to show his international passport.

After Clarkson objected, the clerk consulted a supervisor who also said Clarkson needed the passport. After further checking, the clerk agreed that Clarkson’s driver’s license would be accepted.

Clarkson, who recently lost a campaign for New Mexico secretary of state, said the clerk later apologized.

Leah Gurowitz, director of media and public relations for the D.C. Courts, sent the Sun-News a statement about the incident in an email. “We understand that a clerk in our marriage bureau made a mistake regarding New Mexico’s 106-year history as a state,” Gurowitz said. “We very much regret the error and the slight delay it caused a New Mexico resident in applying for a D.C. marriage license.”

New Mexico Magazine has monthly columns in which readers report encountering outsiders who hold similar beliefs about New Mexico.

University of New Mexico law professor Cliff Villa told the magazine he encountered a TSA agent at the Houston airport who looked at his New Mexico driver’s license and asked for his passport.

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