Even as the Supreme Court prepares to hear cases for the freedom to marry, two New Mexico couples have filed a lawsuit in Albuquerque’s district court after they applied for and were denied marriage licenses by the Bernalillo County Clerk. The lawsuit claims that the New Mexico marriage statutes and New Mexico Constitution do not bar same-sex couples from marrying, and therefore the State of New Mexico should issue civil marriage licenses to any same-sex couple who applies for one.
New Mexico is the only state in the country that does not either explicitly recognize same-sex relationships through marriage or civil unions or ban recognition of same-sex relationships by statute or constitutional amendment.
One of the couples, Miriam Rand, 63, and Ona Porter, 66, of Albuquerque, spoke of the longevity and endurance of their relationship. “Ona and I have been together for over 25 years,” said Rand. “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.”
Rose Griego, 47, and Kim Kiel, 44, of Santa Fe highlighted the commitment they have made to one another, and how that commitment would be strengthened. “Marriage matters,” said Rose Griego. “Kim and I have already made a lifelong commitment to one another, but marriage says ‘family’ in a way that no other word can. It’s important to us that the State of New Mexico—our home, the place where we live, work and raised our family—recognizes and respects our relationship.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is one of the legal organizations involved in the case, along with the ACLU. NCLR's Legal Director Shannon Minter stated, “New Mexico has a long history of respecting individual freedom and supporting families. These couples want the same opportunity to marry and to take responsibility for one another as other couples.”
This lawsuit comes days after Santa Fe City officials stated that New Mexico law didn't forbid marriage equality, and urged county clerks to begin issuing license for gay and lesbian couples. It also falls mere days before the US Supreme Court hold hearings on the discriminatory 'Defense of Marriage Act,' which unfairly denies federal protections to committed same-sex couples who are legally married in their own states, as well as California's Proposition 8 which was found unconstitutional by the Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the basis it violates our nation’s fundamental concepts of liberty and equal treatment under the law.
To stay up to date with all marriage equality news, visit www.glaad.org/marriage.
GLAAD is a part of the Respect for Marriage coalition, a partnership of more than 80 civil rights, faith, health, labor, business, legal, LGBT, student, and women's organizations working together to end the "Defense of Marriage Act" and grow support for the freedom to marry.
Visit United for Marriage to learn how you can join thousands of people and grassroots organizations to stand up and show your support for marriage equality.