Gay Marriage Arguments Compel New Mexico Supreme Court to Webcast for First Time Ever on Wednesday
New Mexico's Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday regardinga petition filed by 33 New Mexico County Clerks asking the court to issue a statewide binding resolution on the legality of same-sex marriage in the state. The request came in September following weeks in which eight New Mexico counties began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples based on the state's gender-neutral marriage laws, beginning with Doña Ana County on August 21.
Later in September, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the law firm of Sutin, Thayer & Browne APC, and other New Mexico attorneys filed a brief urging the Court to issue a binding ruling.
Conservative lawmakers and groups followed with their own brief, asking the court to declare it illegal.
The arguments will be webcast for the first time in the state's history. KOAT will stream the arguments on their website. KUNM will also simulcast the arguments. The arguments are slated to begin at 9:00 am on Wednesday:
There is significant public interest in the case; on a conference call with reporters, same-sex marriage advocates said that there will be enough room for 150 people in person. The arguments will also be longer than usual. While oral arguments are usually limited to 40 minutes. In this case, there will be two hours worth of arguments. One hour will be devoted to state statutes related to same-sex marriage and the other on the constitutional question regarding same-sex marriage.
The New Mexico Supreme Court said it won't decide immediately on same-sex marriage after hearing arguments on Wednesday: "The court clerk told lawyers last week that the court won't make a decision on the day of the hearing but will take the case under consideration. The justices will hear one hour of arguments on constitutional issues and an hour on issues about state statutes involving marriage."