Where Gay Marriage Stands
Same-sex unions still remain a somewhat vague issue in New Mexico. Same-sex marriages are not granted in the state along with civil unions and domestic partnerships; domestic partnership benefits are awarded to state employees though.
There was a time when about seventy gay couples were married in New Mexico. Republican Senator Victoria Dunlap voiced that there was no explicit ban on gay marriage and once her commentary was made public (and she allowed a couple to be married) there was a rush of couples applying for marriage licenses. Dunlap was highly criticized and the licenses were quickly declared invalid by the Supreme Court of New Mexico. Further, those who had already successfully married had their marriage licenses invalidated.
The question currently at hand is whether same-sex marriages from other states would be recognized in New Mexico.
A formal inquiry was made by State Representative Al Park who asked, “Are same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions valid in New Mexico?” No official legislation has determined the conclusion but the Attorney General formed the response “while we cannot predict how a New Mexico court would rule on this issue, after review of the law in this area, it is our opinion that a same-sex marriage that is valid under the laws of the country or state where it was consummated would likewise be found valid in New Mexico.” This statement holds no legal power but considering a 2011 poll that determined that 68 percent of New Mexico constituents approve of some kind of legal relationship for gay couples, his hypothesis might not be too far off from what the people’s vote would say.
However, Governor Susana Martinez’s spokesman responded to the Attorney General’s comment by reiterating that, on her campaign trail, she made her opposition towards gay marriage clear and, that no court of New Mexico had ruled on the issue. Her stance, however, is receiving criticism for contradicting these assurances that she made in the past:
“From this moment on, we must aspire together. Work together. Fight together. Triumph together. And today only marks the first day of our journey together…not every New Mexican voted for me. But every New Mexican deserves and will receive my best efforts to protect and promote their interests.”
Critics do not feel that her current opposition to gay marriage is reflected above.
Since her “switch” to oppose gay marriage some citizens are not happy, including her hair stylist. She has been removed from the client list of her gay hairdresser, Antonio Darden, who refused to continue receiving someone who does not approve of him being able to marry his partner of fifteen years.
State Defense of Marriage Act
Governor Martinez might soon be satisfied because in early 2012, Representative David Chavez introduced “a state-level Defense of Marriage Act that would amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage and void recognition of marriages and civil unions from other states.” He finds it to be an issue of utmost importance that should be put before the people but, since the bill’s introduction, Equality New Mexico has kicked off a petition asking Chavez to remove the amendment.
- Can gay couples marry in New Mexico? No.
- Can gay couples enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships? No, but state gay state employees receive domestic partnership benefits.