Christmas came early to New Mexico this year. In a sweeping 5-0 ruling, the state Supreme Court said Thursday that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
“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 justices unanimously concluded.
New Mexico presented a unique case, because there was no law on the books that specifically banned marriage equality. As a result, county clerks in eight of the state’s 33 counties began issuing marriage licenses earlier this year. To clear up the confusion over the status of marriage equality, the clerks sought the opinion of the Supreme Court, building on an earlier ruling favorable to marriage.
The state Supreme Court also made a point of demolishing one of the right’s favorite arguments in favor of banning same-sex marriages: that it will have a negative impact on children. After a lengthy exploration of the issue in its decision, the court reached a pithy conclusion.
“We fail to see how depriving committed same-gender couples, who want to marry and raise families, of federal and state marital benefits and protections will result in responsible child-rearing by heterosexual married couples,” the justices wrote.
New Mexico becomes the seventh state this year to legalize marriage equality. Coupled with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June, 2013 will go down in the books as the year of wedding bells.
See the full list of The 16 States & 1 District Where You Can Get Marrried Now.
Photo credit: New Mexico Supreme Court