Gay Couples File Suit Seeking Freedom to Marry in New Mexico


Following Santa Fe Mayor David Coss's proclamation earlier this week that same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico, things are starting to heat up there.

The NCLR reports that two couples have filed suit seeking the freedom to marry:

Today, two same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry 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. The couples are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Albuquerque law firm Sutin, Thayer & Browne, APC, and local cooperating attorneys Maureen Sanders, Lynn Perls, and Kate Girard.

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.

The couples are Miriam Rand, 63, and Ona Porter, 66, and Rose Griego, 47, and Kim Kiel, 44. Miriam and Ona currently live in Albuquerque, while Rose and Kim reside in Santa Fe.

More on the couples and the lawsuit here.


  1. Rexford says

    So since everything’s gender neutral, if a same-sex couple is married in New York or Washington and moves or returns to New Mexico is their marriage recognized there?

  2. Bill S. says

    Ugh…this isn’t going to work. Under the laws of statutory construction, you would have to prove that the New Mexican legislature intended on legalizing same-sex marriage when it wrote its marriage statutes. Every state but Louisiana operates on the Common Law, so it isn’t just a matter of “the law doesn’t say anything against it, so ha!”

    Hopefully the judge asks them to revise their complaint to make it a constitutional challenge (i.e. the New Mexican Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause demands same-sex marriage).

  3. Jere says

    If the law in New Mexico is as cut and dried, gender neutral as Mayor Cross says it is, how does the state fight this? It is possible that the Attorney General (or whomever) will come to court and offer no opposition? More importantly, WHY would the state want to fight this? The laws were written this way for a reason and since NM is the only state with laws written this way, the legislators who wrote them must have known they were varying from the norm. I doubt the marriage laws in NM were written by happenstance. IF the law is clear, how will the state justify the expense and time of fighting this?

  4. DB says

    For this same legal reason, New Mexico was one of the first states to allow inter-racial marriage. Inter-racial couples from California and elsewhere would go to New Mexico to get married. Unlike its neighbors, NM has always embraced its Hispanic population and has extended this appreciation for civil right to other groups and individuals as well.

  5. Lynel says

    @DB…yet ironically enough, when it comes to GAY RIGHTS, New Mexico is very far behind MANY states, with a homophobic bigoted governor and many elected officials (sadly, sometimes Hispanic) who are vocally anti gay. That state needs to be held accountable for their prejudice toward the gay community, not be given a pass or overlooked for it because of past actions toward other demographics. That doesn.t excuse the continuing inequality practiced in New Mexico.

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