In a unanimous 5-0 ruling, the New Mexico Supreme Court has declared same-sex marriage constitutional, declaring that it is unconstitutional to deny lesbian or gay couples a marriage license.
In its’ ruling the Court said:
“Prohibiting same-gender marriages is not substantially related to the governmental interests advanced by the parties opposing same-gender marriage or to the purposes we have identified. Therefore, 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.”
The ruling in today’s case began with the decision of Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins’ decision to issue marriage licenses earlier this year. Since that time seven more counties have begun issuing same-gender marriage licenses. Each of New Mexico’s thirty-three counties will now be obligated, under law, to issue same-gender marriage licenses.
New Mexico is the seventeenth state to issue marriage licenses to lesbian and gay couples.