By Stephen C. Webster on Dec 19, 2013
The New Mexico Supreme Court issued a historic ruling Thursday that legalizes same sex marriages throughout the state.
“This truly is a historic and joyful day for New Mexico,” ACLU New Mexico legal director Laura Schauer Ives said in a press release. “As a state, we have always strived to treat all families with dignity and respect, and today’s decision allowing loving, committed same sex couples to marry continues that tradition. The more than one-thousand same-sex couples who have already married in New Mexico can now rest certain knowing their marriages will be recognized and respected by our state.”
In a 31-page ruling, Justice Edward Chavez wrote that excluding same sex couples from the right of marriage “violates the Equal Protection Clause under Article II, Section 18 of the New Mexico Constitution.”
“We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law,” he added.
The ruling also directly addressed critics of same-gender marriages, who argued that the state has a vested interest in withholding rights from certain couples due to their inability to procreate.
“Procreation has never been a condition of marriage under New Mexico law, as evidenced by the fact that the aged, the infertile, and those who choose not to have children are not precluded from marrying,” Chavez wrote. “In addition, New Mexico law recognizes the right of same-gender couples to raise children.”
On that same note, the court kicked sand on another popular meme among anti-gay conservatives, citing evidence that LGBT couples are perfectly equipped to raise children responsibly.
“We fail to see how depriving committed same-gender couples, who want to marry and raise families, of federal and state marital benefits and protections will result in responsible child-rearing by heterosexual married couples,” Chavez added. “In the final analysis, child-rearing for same-gender couples is made more difficult by denying them the status of being married and depriving them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities that come with civil marriage.”
The ruling means that all of New Mexico’s county clerks must begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples immediately. Prior to the ruling, only eight New Mexico county clerks recognized every couple’s right to marry. The case was Griego v. Oliver.