Guess What, New Mexico? You Already Have Marriage Equality!

Gender, or a lack of it. That’s the basis by which Santa Fe officials announced this week that gay marriage is already legal in New Mexico.

Santa Fe city leaders, including Mayor David Coss, City Councilor Patti Bushee, and city attorney Geno Zamora, held a news conference on Tuesday announcing they believe that same-sex marriage is already legal in New Mexico. The basis of this contention is threefold.

First, and most importantly, New Mexico’s marriage law contains no reference to gender, mentioning only the contracting of “parties” in marriage, and same-sex marriage is not on a list of marriages that are not recognized.

This has previously been used to make the case for recognizing same-sex marriages officiated out-of-state, the second point that Coss and Bushee used to make their case.

The third and final issue is that New Mexico does not tolerate anti-LGBT discrimination. An Act Relating to Human Rights, which became effective July 1, 2003, ensures New Mexico protects its citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and union membership. Therefore, without legal justification for discrimination in marriage, there can be no basis to suppose the assumed gay marriage ban is legal.

Coss and Bushee are now calling on the rest of the City Council to support a resolution to urge county clerks across the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The resolution won’t have any legal power, but it does send a clear message to the New Mexico legislature.

“It’s time to push this issue,” Mayor David Coss is quoted as saying at the press conference. A bill to recognize same-sex marriage was introduced into the state legislature last year, but lawmakers have so far failed to move on the bill and it is believed they have little appetite to do so.

Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar is quoted as saying by the Santa Fe New Mexican news that until a change of state law happens, the ambiguity of the current law prevents her from acting:

“I would love to be able to issue marriage licenses [to same-sex couples], but under the current law, I feel I’m not free and clear to do so. The Legislature creates the laws and the judges interpret the laws, and I, as a county clerk, do not create or interpret laws. And I feel that my oath of office does not allow me to act counter to the laws of New Mexico.”

No New Mexico judge has ever ruled on whether a right to same-sex marriage exists per the state constitution or whether current law caters for that right.  Both Coss and Bushee said at Tuesday’s event that they expect this issue to come before the Supreme Court of New Mexico if the state legislature does not answer the call first.

For Coss, at least, this fight is personal. His daughter is a lesbian and he wants her to have the same rights as all his other children.

“As a dad, I’d just like to walk her down the aisle some day and I will never get to do that if we don’t move on these issues in Santa Fe,” he is quoted as saying. “Santa Fe is ready. New Mexico is ready, I know. Our country is ready to move on this.”

The proposed resolution will be introduced to the city council on March 27, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court will hear opening arguments against the federal Defense of Marriage Act.


Related Reading:

New Mexico Gov Responds to Gay Hairstylist’s Snub

New Mexico High School Bans Clubs to Escape Gay Support Group

3-Year-Old Denied Education Because Parents Are Gay

Image credit: Thinkstock.


David King
David King4 years ago

Edie Windsor had her day in the U.S. Supreme Court today—and she stood courageously for all of us. The federal government must stop discriminating against married same-sex couples. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, and must finally be struck down.
Three of Lambda Legal’s expert attorneys were in the courtroom to witness history. After successfully challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA in our own case before a federal appeals court on behalf of Karen Golinski, we also submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in this case with our colleagues from GLAD. We argued that DOMA is a recipe for discrimination: It targets a particular group disliked at the time of its passage, affects important personal interests, and represents a one-time departure from usual federal policy and practice. It’s clearly a violation of equal protection guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Congratulations to our colleagues at the ACLU, who did a great job representing Edie and arguing for the end of DOMA. The U.S. Department of Justice is on our side, and also argued forcefully today that it is unconstitutional for the government to treat married same-sex couples as if they were not married.
This has been an amazing week for our movement and our country. But great historical moments like these do not just happen—they are built upon years of strategic work.
When Lambda Legal won a thrilling victory at the Supreme Court 10 years ag

BMutiny TCorporationsEvil
Barbara T4 years ago

Well, if you don't mind my cut-and-paste from another thread, here's a bit of History that might be of interest. I was surprised!
It is interesting that New Mexico marriage laws say NOTHING about the sex of the people being married - so, if the govt is not to INTERFERE, there is NOTHING preventing Same-sex couples from marrying in New Mexico!
I just happen by co-incidence, to be reading a book about the winning of Women's Right to Vote. "By the end of 1866, Congress had passed the 14th Amendment, in which the word "MALE" appears three times."
This was SPECIFICALLY designed in order to DENY Women the vote! I didn't know that before!
The Women's movement, and the Abolitionist movement against slavery, were very closely allied. Women thought that THEY would ALSO be enfranchised after the Civil War. The 14th Amendment, as written, seems almost designed to put a WEDGE between those two movements - as it did!
If the 14th Amendment had NOT specifically said Male - women would've gotten the Vote THEN, instead of waiting until 1920 and the 19th Amendment!

Pamylle G.
Pamylle G4 years ago

Go, New Mexico !

Dan B.
Dan Brook4 years ago


Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago


Heather G.
Heather G4 years ago

Guess what, Tim H? When marriage equality becomes legal in every state,everyone, even you, may marry someone of the same sex too!!!

Lydia Weissmuller Price

We are all equal in the eyes of God. In the original Hebrew of the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is designated by the feminine noun. Yet, the nation of Israel is symbolically referred to as God's bride. God has a masculine [strength, protectiveness], and feminine [nurturing, gentle] side. Who is anyone to judge which side of the spiritual nature of God we inherit?

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush4 years ago

Wonders never cease!

Marie W.
Marie W4 years ago

Do not hold your breath.

Daria W.
Daria W4 years ago

all different ! all equal !