New Mexico Becomes 17th State to Allow Gay Marriage – NYTimes.com

The New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously affirmed on Thursday the right of same-sex partners to marry in the state, reasoning that the “protections and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally” to them and to opposite-sex couples.

With the ruling, which takes effect immediately, New Mexico becomes one of 17 states and the District of Columbia to permit same-sex marriage. (Thirty-three states limit marriage to opposite-sex couples and 10 recognize civil unions and partnerships.)

via New Mexico Becomes 17th State to Allow Gay Marriage – NYTimes.com.

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The Marriage Equality Movement Could Change Dramatically In The Next Two Weeks

WASHINGTON — It’s been less than four months since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and put an end to California’s marriage amendment, but advocates have been busy over the summer — setting the stage for a very busy two weeks that could rock the marriage equality landscape and change the country.

The calendar for the rest of the month is packed with a dizzying array of potential developments: decisions and movement in lawsuits that are multiplying by the week, possible votes from lawmakers being prodded to action by governors in their states, and — for the state of New Mexico — a hearing at the state Supreme Court to resolve once and for all whether same-sex couples can marry in a state that doesn’t specifically ban or allow such marriages.

The coming weeks also will feature the first action in the federal appellate courts since the Supreme Court rulings, with a filing in the 9th Circuit in a challenge to Nevada’s marriage law. The quick reemergence of a marriage case at the appellate level is notable because that’s the path back to the Supreme Court, where marriage equality advocates are still seeking a ruling that would bring marriage equality to all 50 states.

From a Wednesday hearing in Michigan to a hearing regarding a challenge to Virginia’s marriage law on Oct. 29, here’s what you need to know:

via The Marriage Equality Movement Could Change Dramatically In The Next Two Weeks.

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New Mexico county begins issuing same-sex marriage licenses amid pending court battles – The Washington Post

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gay couples rushed to a courthouse in Las Cruces on Wednesday after the county clerk decided to issue same-sex marriage licenses in a surprise move that came as several legal challenges on the practice make their way through the courts.

“I was in a coffee shop grading dissertations when my partner sent me an email saying, ‘you want to get married?’” said Char Ullman, 51. “I went home to brush my teeth and headed to the courthouse.”

Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said his office had provided 35 licenses to same-sex couples compared to four or five given on an average day to heterosexual couples.

“It’s a happy office today. Lots of happy people,” he said. “One of the first couples that came in today said they had been waiting 31 years. Another couple says they’ve been waiting 43 years. It’s time to stop waiting.”

Jeff Williams, a public information officer in the county’s government and a reverend with Universal Life Church, said he was marrying same-sex couples all day long while wearing his rainbow-colored tie.

Outside the courthouse, television reporters were busy interviewing the people getting married and there was no sign of any protesters.

Ellins said he had carefully read state laws and concluded the “state’s marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Dona Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples.”

Later in the day, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King said he had no plans to challenge the move by Ellins or another other county clerks who might allow the practice.

Ellins said he had been considering issuing the licenses since June, when King released a position paper saying state laws don’t allow same-sex marriage. King had asked county clerks to hold off on issuing licenses, even though he believes the laws are unconstitutional.

Ellins, however, said “any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act.”

via New Mexico county begins issuing same-sex marriage licenses amid pending court battles – The Washington Post.

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SANTA FE, N.M.: Court rules against photographer in gay bias case | National Elections | Macon.com

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s highest court has ruled that a commercial photography business violated a state anti-discrimination law by refusing to take pictures of a gay couple’s commitment ceremony.

Elaine Huguenin, co-owner of Elane Photography in Albuquerque, opposes same-sex marriage and had refused to photograph the 2006 event because of her religious beliefs.

The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday the business’s refusal to photograph the ceremony between two women violated New Mexico’s Human Rights Act “in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.”

via SANTA FE, N.M.: Court rules against photographer in gay bias case | National Elections | Macon.com.