Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Once upon a time, in a press conference

Ned Cantwell

(Writer’s note: Any resemblance to the New Mexico county now awaiting a threatened lawsuit over its issuance of gay marriage licenses and the fictional county below is purely coincidental. Well, almost.)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the national press. My name is County Clerk Needon Attension, and we welcome you here to our county and our state.

Let me say, first, here in Please Notice Us, New Mexico, we believe in the sanctity of marriage, but I am also duty bound to respect and uphold the civil rights of our citizens, and that is why I have decided to grant the marriage license to Tom Brown and his…

Excuse me, Ms. Attension, Wiley Cog from the New York Times here. While many of us believe what you are doing is noble and courageous, still, you are taking this issue far and beyond the parameters of any judicial or political boundaries thus far established.

Thank you, Mr. Cog, for your flattering comments. To address your concern, yes, this is a bold new venture, a first step into an exciting future. And while I respect San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for presiding over a Winter of Love, the uniting of thousands of man-man, woman-woman couples, he does not go far enough.

Ms Attension. Ms. Attension. I am Charles Crewcut, editor of the National Conservative Journal. Contrary to your remarks, there is nothing to respect out in California. The state, once on the cutting edge of positive cultural influence, now is in the forefront of duplicity and depravity. But, my Lord, woman, you are setting new standards of evil. What possible justification can you cite for the action you have taken here today?

First of all, Mr. Crewcut, I take sharp exception to your allegations of evil. I believe in the basic values of our society. But this is not about values, it is about the rights of our people, it is about the Constitution.

And in that regard, I have spent many hours in a word-by-word reading of the New Mexico statutes and nowhere do I find a single provision that would permit my withholding a marriage license from Mr. Brown and his partner, Irene the Inflatable Doll.

(Bedlam among the press corps. Reporters yelling questions. Cameras flashing).

One at a time, people. One at a time. In answer to the question someone had about the law of New Mexico versus the law of common sense. Let me just say that the law of common sense is only for the common man, but the law of progressive thinking will be followed by those of us with vision.

Ms. Attension? I’m Dr. Josh Bullright, special correspondent to Psychology Today. That was the biggest load of gobbledygook I’ve ever heard.

Over here, Ms. County Clerk please. Are you doing this for the publicity? Can we get a shot of you looking thoughtful and perplexed?

Ms. Attension? Is this the end of it? Would you issue a license to a man who was taking two wives?

How about that man over there with his sheep? Are you going to…

OK, enough already. This press conference is over.

Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman living in Ruidoso. Contact him at:

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