CIBOLA COUNTY - Ruben Diaz and Serge Lapointe made history when they said “I do” on Monday.
Cibola County issued its first marriage license to same-sex partners on Jan. 6, according to the documents filed with the clerk’s office.
“We had our new application form ready by Jan. 2,” recalled County Clerk Elise Bro on Jan. 9.
The recently updated Application for Marriage License lists “spouse” instead of “bride” or “groom.”
The clerk’s office had denied an application by another same-sex couple late last year, but the recent State Supreme Court decision changed how county clerks statewide issue licenses.
“I’m an elected official,” said Bro. “The clerk’s office staff abides by State law; we made the changes based on the State Supreme Court ruling.”
The County Clerk’s office issued 157 licenses in 2012 and 175 in 2013, according to Bro.
Diaz and Lapointe were one of four couples who have “tied the knot” in the County so far this year.
“We’ve always wanted to get married,” explained Diaz. “We had considered traveling to a state where we could get married but decided to wait until we could have the ceremony here.”
Diaz is a native of Cubero, which is located in the eastern part of the County. Lapointe, originally from Montreal, Canada, moved here late in 2012.
Reverend Laura Bezzeg performed the ceremony at Riverwalk Park gazebo in Grants shortly after the license was issued.
“I’ve known Laura for many years and she is like my second mother,” said Diaz. “They are all just like my big extended family.”
Rev. Bezzeg agreed, “I’ve known Ruben a really long time. I was so pleased when he asked me to do the honors.”
The minister was ordained in The Church of Seven Flames in late 2012. She noted this is the second wedding she has performed. The first was in Bernalillo County for a dear friend explained Rev. Bezzeg.
“Many church congregations are uncomfortable recognizing members of the gay and lesbian community,” she said. “I wanted to be ordained because so many churches turn these couples away.”
Bezzeg explained that she became a member because “the Church respects everyone’s beliefs; we all worship the same God.”
The wedding was special for more than one reason – the couple also celebrated Lapointe’s birthday, according to Diaz.
“We’ve received nothing but good wishes ever since we posted it on Facebook,” recalled Diaz. “People around the world have sent their congratulations; there has not been one negative comment posted.”
“My 88-year-old mother gave us her blessing before she passed away when Serge asked her for my hand in marriage,” recalled Diaz.
Diaz and Lapointe said they are proud to be the first same-sex married couple in Cibola County.
“Marriage is a serious commitment,” emphasized Rev. Bezzeg. “Every couple that takes those vows strengthens all the couples who have made the decision to share their lives.”
“This [Cibola County] is where I’m from,” said Diaz, “and we are so happy that we waited until we could get married here.”
“I’d love to preside over more weddings,” said the minister. “I’m such a big believer in the commitment.”