New Mexico Supreme Court to hear marriage equality arguments on October 23

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The New Mexico Supreme Court has set October 23 as the day they will hear verbal arguments regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state.

The court also invited the six plaintiff couples involved in the legal battle to participate in the hearing.

In New Mexico marriage equality is unmarked territory, as the state doesn’t overtly permit or prohibit the legal union of gay couples. In August, a Santa Fe judge ruled that the state’s constitution didn’t explicitly ban same-sex marriage and then ordered a clerk to distribute marriage licenses to gay couples whom desired to wed. A judge in Bernalillo County also came to the conclusion that denying gay couples the right to marry went against the constitution.

Since then a lawsuit was brought in by multiple Republican lawmakers, who were dissatisfied by a Dona Ana County clerk who has been voluntarily (without court order) giving marriage licenses to gay couples. The National Center for Lesbian Rights partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union also filed suit, arguing that same-sex marriage should be legalized in New Mexico.

“Now is the time for New Mexico to treat same-sex couples with the same dignity and respect as all other couples and fully respect their lifelong commitments to each other and their families,” executive director of the ACLU New Mexico Peter Simonson said, according to the Washington Blade.

On September 5, all 33 New Mexico county clerks signed a petition requesting that the New Mexico Supreme Court officially legalize marriage equality across the state.

“We don’t know when the court will rule, but clearly they recognize the importance of the issue and have set an expedited briefing and argument schedule,” said the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Shannon Minter, as quoted by the Washington Blade. “They could issue a decision anytime after the argument.”

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