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New Mexico Judge Orders Bernalillo and Santa Fe County Clerks to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - August 26 - Today, Judge Alan Malott of the Second Judicial District Court of the State of New Mexico ordered the county clerks of Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Ruling in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and local attorneys on behalf of same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in New Mexico, Judge Malott said that denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage violates the New Mexico Constitution.
“This is a great day to be a resident of New Mexico,” said Peter Simonson, ACLU-NM executive director. “Our state is now on the brink of joining the growing list of states who live and honor the values of family, liberty and love. Every family in this state is made richer by this step toward justice for all.”
The court issued a judgment against the two county clerks and the state declaring that, to the extent New Mexico law prevents same-sex couples from marrying, “those prohibitions are unconstitutional and unenforceable.”
“Today was yet another powerful reminder that the march to justice is unstoppable and gaining momentum,” said Kate Kendell, NCLR executive director. “We are joyful for our client couples and for every same-sex couple in New Mexico. The freedom to marry is about love, commitment, family and security. These are universal values and they are center stage today.”
Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Jen Roper and Angelique Neuman, who have been together for over 21 years. Jen was diagnosed late last year with an aggressive brain tumor and given 18 months to live. Facing this life-altering crisis, Roper and Neuman realized they couldn’t wait for New Mexico to allow same-sex couples to marry at a future date. After an emergency appeal, the Santa Fe County clerk issued them a marriage license last Friday and they got married at a cancer center during a break from a chemotherapy infusion.
“The story of Jen and Angelique shows how important marriage is. It’s the term we all use to recognize the kind of commitment they have now and have had for decades,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Project. “There are other couples like Jen and Angelique all over New Mexico, and today’s ruling opens up the promise of protection for all of them.”
More on this case can be found at: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/griego-v-oliver