The New Mexico Supreme Court banned the state government from denying same-sex couples the ability to marry, according to a report from Bloomberg. New Mexico is the only state in the country that does not have a law that either bans or allows gay marriage.
The ruling was issued by the Supreme Court in New Mexico earlier this week in response to requests made by county clerks. The clerks wanted to clear up an order issued by a judge back in August that made clerks in Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County issue marriage licenses to couples no matter what their sexual orientation or gender is.
With the ruling, the state of New Mexico is added to a group of 16 states and the District of Columbia that have made gay marriage legal.
According to the ruling, preventing gay marriage is “not substantially related to the governmental interests advanced by the parties opposing same-gender marriage.”
The decision by the state supreme court was unanimous and it stated that depriving individuals of the rights, responsibilities, and protections of civil marriage goes against the equal protection clause of the state’s constitution solely because of their gender.
“We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law,” the judges wrote in the ruling.
Jim Campbell is legal counsel for the group Alliance Defending Freedom. He said that the ruling does not allow residents of the state the chance to make the decision about gay marriage democratically.
“The government’s purpose for recognizing marriage is to bring together one man and one woman as husband and wife to be a father and a mother to any children their union produces,” Campbell wrote in a statement emailed to Bloomberg. “The New Mexico Supreme Court ignored that time-tested understanding of marriage and replaced it with the recently conceived notion that marriage means special government recognition for close relationships.”
In opposition to a ruling issued by Judge Alan Malott in August, a group of state lawmakers wrote the following:
“The intent of the legislature, a comprehensive reading of all the statutes addressing marriage, this court’s treatment of marriage, the consensus of past and present New Mexico attorneys general, and an unbroken line of precedents from other jurisdictions all confirm that the marriage statutes in this state permit marriage only between one man and one woman.”