New Mexico’s Legal Grey Area On Same-Sex Marriage leads to the Federal Courts
New Mexico may not be legalizing same-sex marriage state-wide, but same-sex couples have found themselves able to wed since the state laws don’t explicitly recognizing or prohibiting same-sex marriage.
New Mexico is the only state in the country which doesn’t specifically authorize or forbid same-sex marriage and certain counties and their LGBTQ residents are using it to their advantage. More and more localities are issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses and public objection hasn’t been a large issue for the primarily conservative state.
“Experts and gay rights advocates say the relative lack of an uproar is a sign of how quickly public opinion has turned on the issue,” the Associated Press reported.
Lynn Ellins is the Doña Ana County Clerk and begun issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses on Aug. 21.
“I have gotten some fairly nasty religious-related telephone message,” Ellins told the AP. “But generally speaking, I am surprised by the relatively muted response from those who clearly disagree.”
Republican Senator William Sharer of Farmington, New Mexico “is among a group of Republicans who filed a lawsuit in Dona Ana County to try to block the clerk there from continuing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” AP stated.
Progress Now New Mexico, a non-profit group working towards enhancing the progressive voice for those in New Mexico, has asked Sharer to apologize for a comparison he made between gays and “whores” in August of this year.
In the the inflammatory post, Sharer wrote that marriage is “the oldest concept in human history,” in which he explained Alexander the Great’s “view of marriage”:
Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) married a Bactrian woman – modern day Afghanistan. Alexander may have engaged in homosexual activity, but he married a woman.
He directed his officers to stop “whoring” around and find a local woman to marry.
“It is only through blood relations that hatred and war will end”. In other words, Alexander the Great thought that marriage was about creating and raising the next generation.
This is the reason for Marriage.
“The threat to Senator Sharer and the Republican Party in New Mexico doesn’t come from loving couples entering into committed relationships, it comes from their own failure to recognize the progress our country is making towards realizing the dream of freedom and equality for all,” said Patrick Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico according to LGBTQNation.
New Mexico is compiled of 33 counties, 8 of which have begun to or plan to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses.
“According to the New Mexico Constitution, marriage is ‘a civil contract, for which the consent of contracting parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential,’” PolicyMic.com states. “There is no explicit mention of gender, and this ambiguity is the main source of contention in legal battles and public opinion.”
On Aug. 29 county clerks of New Mexico petitioned the New Mexico Supreme Court to review the issue and make a decision on whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalized in the state.
“A statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, representing couples in the Bernalillo County case, said gay rights proponents hope Friday’s move ‘will lead to a speedy decision establishing the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples in New Mexico,’” NBCNews reported.
Republican Anna Cook is a state rep. from Clovis who is looking forward to the Supreme Court decision.
“It’s been absolute chaos,” she told NBC. “We need to have a ruling one way or the other instead of ‘my county can, yours can’t.”
The New Mexico Supreme Court has set a hearing date of Oct. 23 to resolve the issue.
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