EQNM is partnered with the ACLU of New Mexico (ACLU-NM) in the Why Marriage Matters New Mexico public education campaign to increase public support for the freedom to marry in New Mexico. This campaign is a companion effort to the freedom to marry litigation filed in March by a legal team comprised of ACLU National, ACLU-NM, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), local firm Sutin, Thayer & Brown, and local attorneys Lynn Perls and Kate Girard on behalf of two same-gender couples who were denied marriage licenses in Bernalillo County.
Below is the response released by the legal team regarding Thursday’s statement from Attorney General King on the subject of marriage equality in New Mexico. Please direct all inquires regarding this response to Micah McCoy, Communications Manager for ACLU-NM, at email@example.com or 505-266-5915.
Marriage Legal Team Responds to Attorney General’s Statement
The legal team representing the same-sex couples who are suing the Bernalillo County Clerk and the State of New Mexico for the freedom to marry issued the following statement:
We are encouraged by the Attorney General’s statement on Thursday that denying marriage to same-sex couples is “vulnerable to challenge under the equal protection guarantees of the federal and state constitutions.”
Our families need and deserve the security of knowing that if they marry their marriages will be valid and enforceable. While the Attorney General did not issue a formal opinion, such an opinion would not provide the protections our New Mexican families require and would not have been binding on courts or county officials.
Our lawsuit, Griego v. Oliver, is brought under the New Mexico Constitution and a victory will provide long lasting and broad reaching protection for same-sex couples, their families, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. While our marriage statute is gender-neutral, a win based only on the statute cannot provide the same level of security as a win based on New Mexico’s Constitution. Our goal is to obtain a judgment from the Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico in which they determine that all loving couples are entitled to equal protection and the freedom to marry.
We are striving to move the litigation swiftly toward a real and lasting resolution. Allowing the courts the opportunity to receive evidence and consider these crucial constitutional issues will ultimately provide enduring and meaningful protection. Our couples’ lives and histories are vital to the process and important for the courts to hear.