The New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed, finally, to decide once and for all the issue of same-sex marriage in the state, and it might be too late to put the genie back in the bottle. They have set 23 October to be the date for the hearing.
The petition to decide the issue came from all thirty-three counties.
New Mexico lacks a specific ban on same-sex marriage, and the state does not include language making marriage as being between a man and a woman. It does make mention of husband and wife, however.
Currently, some eight counties are already issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
It is hoped that New Mexico will become the fourteenth or fifteenth state to legalize same-sex marriage officially. Currently, thirteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriages.
The various counties of New Mexico are tired of the piecemeal approach to the subject.
A number of Republican lawmakers have filed a suit to stop Dona Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It is unclear how that will play into the ruling this upcoming October. So far, 1,000 lesbian and gay couples have applied for marriage licenses in New Mexico.
Representative Anna Crook, a Republican from Clovis and one of the lawmakers filing against Dona Ana, praised the decision saying that “I think it’s excellent. It’s been absolute chaos. We need to have a ruling one way or the other instead of, ‘My county can, yours can’t.’”
Chris Stoll of the National Center for Lesbian Rights stated that “We have couples that have received marriage licenses and have gotten married, and they deserve the certainty of knowing their marriage is secure and will be respected by the state.”
Republicans and Conservative Democrats could force a measure on to the ballot if same-sex marriage is found to be legal in New Mexico; however, they may be reluctant to do so in light of the Walker Ruling in the Prop 8 case.