December 2013 marked a southwestern step toward marriage equality nationwide when the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state is required by its constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Today the state said no to dismantling that progress when its legislative session ended without any consideration of a proposed constitutional amendment. With bipartisan support, SJR 6 is dead, and New Mexico still represents the seventeenth state (plus DC) to have legalized marriage for same-sex couples.
When the Supreme Court ruled that our state constitution guarantees all New Mexicans the rights and responsibilities of marriage, we expected there would be some who would seek to overturn the decision. But the Legislature listened to the citizens of New Mexico and stood strong against attempts to deny New Mexicans their constitutional right of marriage equality. This should prove once and for all that marriage equality is here to stay in New Mexico and that all families in our state are valued and secure.
In the end, as we’re finding in so many other states, the freedom to marry was protected by bipartisan support. We’re indebted to the leadership of our co-chairs, including former Gov. Gary Johnson, a libertarian who speaks directly to many New Mexicans who believe that freedom means freedom for everyone.
The timing of today’s victory bodes well as two important federal court challenges to marriage bans are headed to the 10th Circuit Court in Denver. New Mexico is one of the six states served by that court and we hope the resounding silence by its political and legislative leaders to challenge the freedom to marry resonates with the justices.
PFAW stood with Freedom to Marry and other NMUM partners in asking members to make calls on behalf of fairness for all couples. We will continue to support the freedom to marry nationwide and will remain vigilant against backlash in the Land of Enchantment.