NM Becomes 17th State to Pass Marriage Equality
The New Mexico Supreme Court Thursday ruled that denying same-sex couples the ability to marry violates the Equal Protection Clause of the New Mexico constitution. The ruling came in Greigo v. Oliver, a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of New Mexico and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
“This ruling brings to 17 the number of states where same-sex couples can marry, along with the District of Columbia, and we congratulate our colleagues at the ACLU and NCLR on this wonderful victory,” said Camilla Taylor, National Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal. “This beautiful unanimous decision explicitly underscores the argument we and our sister organizations have long made: denying same-sex couples the ability to marry imposes significant emotional and dignitary harm and is discrimination, pure and simple.”
Taylor added, “It was also wonderful to read this decision and see the multiple references to the hard-fought victories the LGBT rights movement has won over the years – including our recent victory in New Jersey. This is proof-positive that each victory takes us closer to the ultimate goal of full equality for all across the country.”
“The New Mexico Supreme Court did the right thing today by affirming fairness, freedom, and respect for same-sex couples who hope to share in the joy of marriage,” said Thalia Zepatos, director of public engagement at Freedom to Marry. “The clarity of today’s ruling ensures that the freedom to marry, and the protections that come along with it, are guaranteed for loving and committed same-sex couples in the Land of Enchantment. As couples already married in New Mexico take a deep breath and realize their marriages are now fully respected, their family members can also rejoice that no one will be treated differently in New Mexico. And from this day forward, we know that every additional wedding will show that families are helped and no one is harmed when gay couples are free to marry. Officials should quickly implement this decision statewide and prevent any further delay or ambiguity in marriage law in the state.”
“I was raised in New Mexico, and I have been waiting for marriage equality to become a reality,” said Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) member John Hamiga. “I wrote to members of the New Mexico Congressional delegation in support of the freedom to marry during the DOMA debate in 1996. Today I’m celebrating my home state of New Mexico becoming the 17th marriage equality state in the union.”
“The 2013 marriages began when Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins began issuing marriage licenses with the simple declaration: ‘I took an oath to uphold the Constitution.’ Today, the New Mexico Supreme Court has done the same — upheld the Constitution, and fulfilled its promise of fairness and the pursuit of happiness for all,” said MEUSA Executive Director Brian Silva.
MEUSA Legal and Policy Director John Lewis concluded: “County by county, and wedding by wedding, we are seeing couples and clerks and judges bringing to life in their actions the words of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision ‘to protect in personhood and dignity,’ not just in marriage but in all aspects of our lives.