New Mexico joins 16 states, D.C. to make same-sex marriage legal

Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

TUCSON, Ariz. -- New Mexico's highest court unanimously ruled Thursday that it is unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to same-sex couples, making it the newest state to legalize gay weddings.

New Mexico's ruling means that 17 states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage either through legislation, court rulings or voter referendums.

The state Supreme Court justices said New Mexico must respect the marriages of all same-sex couples, including those who wed before their decision. Prior to the ruling, county clerks in eight counties had started issuing marriage licenses to hundreds of same-sex couples.

"Barring individuals from marrying and depriving them of the rights, protections and responsibilities of civil marriage solely because of their sexual orientation violates the Equal Protection Clause under Article II, Section 18 of the New Mexico Constitution," Justice Edward Chavez wrote for the court.

Same-sex marriage supporters praised the decision.

"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, a spokeswoman at Freedom to Marry. "The clarity of today's ruling ensures 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."

While the state's statutes don't specifically outlaw or authorize same-sex marriage, New Mexico's marriage laws had remained unchanged since the 1960s, and the marriage license application made references to "husband" and "wife."

A state district court judge in Albuquerque had ruled this year that denying marriage to same-sex couples is a violation of the state's constitution.


Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here