LGBT advocates ask Supreme Court of New Mexico to recognize marriage equality

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Several LGBT advocacy groups filed legal briefs to the Supreme Court of New Mexico to recognize marriage equality on September 23. The groups listed were the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the ACLU of New Mexico, and the law firm of Sutin, Theyer and Browne APC.

“We agree with the thirty-three county clerks who say New Mexico families need certainty,” said NCLR’s legal director Shannon Minter in a press release on September 23. “New Mexico lacks a state-wide, binding resolution on the question of whether same-sex couples can marry. The more than one thousand same-sex couples who have legally married in New Mexico over the past several weeks need to know that their marriages are valid and respected.”

A clerk from Dona Ana County started to issue licenses to same-sex couples on August 21 but was stopped by Republican lawmakers. A few weeks later, a Santa Fe district judge determined that the state’s constitution did not disqualify LGBT couples from marrying.

“Every New Mexico court that has considered our claims has agreed that it is unconstitutional to deny marriage to loving, committed same-sex couples,” ACLU-NM legal director Laura Schauer Ives said in a press release. “We are hopeful that the New Mexico Supreme Court will agree that same-sex couples in our communities deserve full respect and recognition of their relationships, and issue a writ to resolve all claims on constitutional grounds.”

GOP lawmakers argue that anti-discrimination protections do not provide substantial evidence that LGBT couples can marry.

ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project staff attorney, Elizabeth Gill, said in a press release, “In recent years we have seen an astounding wave of support for the freedom to marry nationwide. It is time for New Mexico to join the growing list of states that recognize marriage equality for all loving and committed couples.”

The New Mexico Supreme Court is scheduled to hear open arguments on October 23.

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