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New Mexico Lawsuit Would Compel Same-Sex Marriage

As I noted earlier this week, several political figures in New Mexico have pointed out that New Mexico’s marriage law doesn’t specifically limit marriage to a man and a woman. At the time, I wondered how long it would be before we’d see a test case filed. Well, it didn’t take long at all:

Two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in Bernalillo County, New Mexico are suing in state court, seeking a marriage license and an injunction stopping the county clerk from refusing to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses.

The American Civil Liberties Union and National Center for Lesbian Rights are co-counsel in the lawsuit. The couples, according to an ACLU news release, are Miriam Rand, 63, and Ona Porter, 66; and Rose Griego, 47, and Kim Kiel, 44.

(…)

“Ona and I have been together for over 25 years. 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,” Rand said in a news release announcing the lawsuit.

I don’t have enough knowledge of the law in New Mexico to know how viable this case actually is, but it will be an interesting case to watch.

Here’s the lawsuit:

New Mexico – Complaint

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. edmondo says:

    Love the headline on this story Doug:

    New Mexico Lawsuit Would Compel Same-Sex Marriage

    If successful, will the lawsuit compel everyone to marry a same sex partner or will all gay folks be forced into matrimony?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. Ben says:

    I just went and read through the New Mexico marriage laws (NMSA 40-1-1 through 40-1-20), and there is absolutely no gender-specific definitions or requirements. Every section just refers to “persons” and “applicants”. The only mention of gender in the entire section is on the included blank application form, which has a space for “Male Applicant” and “Female Applicant”. That hardly seems to be a controlling definition to me. I think the plaintiffs have the letter of the law on their side. We’ll see what the courts say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. @Ben:

    I seem to recall this issue coming up in other states before moves were made to codify bans on SSM. The general reaction from courts at the time, and this was almost ten years ago now if not longer, was that while the law did not specify gender, it was clear from the record that the intent of the legislature at the time the law was adopted was to only apply marriage to opposite sex couples.

    How this will go in the context of New Mexico, a state that seems to be blue enough that eventual formal recognition of SSM is likely, I have no idea

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  4. legion says:

    @edmondo: Holy sh*t! Saxby Chambliss was right!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0