New Mexico court approves same-sex marriages | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Mexico court approves same-sex marriages

Posted By on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM

There are now 17 states and the District of Columbia with marriage equality.

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional under the state's constitutional equal protection provision to deny marriage licenses to people of the same sex.

The Arkansas Constitution also has an equal protection clause. But, unlike New Mexico which has no gender-based restrictions on the books, Arkansas has a subsequent constitutional amendment and statute that explicitly bar same-sex marriage. Those prohibitions are being challenged in state and federal court. A variety of efforts are underway to upend the Arkansas bans by voter initiatives.

From the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is also taking an interest in Arkansas developments:

Writing for the court, Justice Edward Chavez said that “barring individuals from marrying and depriving them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of civil marriage solely because of their sexual orientation 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.”

Said ACLU-New Mexico Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives: “This truly is a historic and joyful day for New Mexico. 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 1000 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.”

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