Gays Sue for Marriage in New Mexico

Couples denied marriage licenses sue for equality

“Ona and I have been together for over 25 years,” said Rand. “Together, we raised children, we took care of our mothers when they were dying and are currently raising our granddaughter. We are family. We love and care for one another through good times and bad. We want our community to recognize our love and commitment for what it is—a marriage.”

The lawsuit claims that the New Mexico marriage statutes and the New Mexico Constitution do not bar same-sex couples from marrying, and therefore the state should issue civil marriage licenses to any same-sex couple who applies for one. New Mexico is the only state in the country that does not explicitly recognize same-sex relationships or have a constitutional amendment against them. The lawsuit was filed in Albuquerque’s district court by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the law firm of Sutin, Thayer & Browne, APC; and attorneys Maureen Sanders, Lynn Perls and Kate Girard.

“The time has come for New Mexico to treat same-sex couples with the same dignity and respect we afford opposite-sex couples,” said Laura Schauer Ives, legal director of the ACLU of New Mexico. “This means allowing loving, committed same-sex couples the freedom to marry. We believe that the New Mexico Constitution guarantees same-sex couples this freedom.”

In mid-March, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss and Councilor Patti Bushee announced a resolution claiming that marriage for same-sex couples is legal in New Mexico. The resolution is based on the gender-neutral language of the state marriage law and the mandate of equality in the state constitution.

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