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Couple says clerk refused ‘foreign’ New Mexico ID for marriage license, asked for passport

LA CRUCES, N.M. – A man said he and his then-fiancee had to prove New Mexico is a state after a District of Columbia clerk denied his driver’s license as proof of identity earlier this month.

The La Cruces Sun-News reports Gavin Clarkson, who lives in Las Cruces, and his fiancee attempted to apply for a marriage license at a D.C. license bureau on Nov. 20.

Clarkson said the clerk, however, wouldn’t accept his New Mexico driver’s license, believing he was a foreign citizen. The clerk allegedly said he would have to provide an international passport to get the license.

“She thought New Mexico was a foreign country,” he told the La Cruces Sun News. “All the couples behind us waiting in line were laughing.”

Clarkson wrote about the incident on Facebook:

“You know you are from flyover country when you are applying for a marriage license, give them your New Mexico driver’s license, and they come back and say “my supervisor says we cannot accept international driver’s licenses. Do you have a New Mexico passport?” They went back to a supervisor to check if New Mexico was a state … TWICE!

The new Mrs. Clarkson thinks that the most hilarious part was when the clerk complemented me on my English. (For those that don’t know, Marina immigrated from Argentina in 1994 and became a US citizen fourteen years later).”

Clarkson said personnel eventually accepted his license along with the marriage application.

Leah H. Gurowitz, director of media and public relations for D.C. Courts, issued the following statement on the situation to the La Cruces Sun News:

“We understand that a clerk in our Marriage Bureau made a mistake regarding New Mexico’s 106-year history as a state. We very much regret the error and the slight delay it caused a New Mexico resident in applying for a DC marriage license.”