Santa Fe City Council Passes Resolution: Same-sex Marriage is Legal in New Mexico

Editor | - April 25, 2013

Encourages New Mexico’s County Clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples

The following is from a City of Santa Fe media release

Over 200 citizens attended an afternoon session at City Hall last night to hear city councilors vote and discuss a marriage equality resolution recognizing same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico. The contentious same-sex resolution passed last evening with a vote of 5-1 with two abstentions.

The resolution asserts that New Mexico's marriage statute language is gender-neutral and thus same-sex marriage is legal, allowing county clerks to issue licenses. It also calls on the New Mexico Attorney General Gary King to issue an opinion regarding marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Although the city does not have authority over county clerks, the resolution is intended to make the city's position known and advance the movement for marriage equality in New Mexico.

“I am so proud of the council’s decision to support the freedom to marry the person you love,” said Mayor David Coss.

“Over my many years of public service, I have always acted on the firm belief that everyone should be treated with fairness, dignity, respect, and be afforded the same opportunities to pursue personal happiness,” said Councilor Patti Bushee, a co-sponsor of the resolution. “Santa Fe has a rich tradition of diversity, equality, and acceptance. The passage of this resolution in support of the freedom to marry – for all New Mexicans ­– is in keeping with that rich tradition.”

“I am voting against fear and prejudice and for equality, inclusiveness and most of all love,” said Councilor Chris Calvert, a co-sponsor of the resolution.

“I was brought up by loving parents and loving grandparents not to hate,” said Councilor Ron Trujillo, a co-sponsor of the resolution.

In a written opinion, dated March 19, 2013, City Attorney Geno Zamora discusses the fact that New Mexico’s statutory definition of marriage is gender-neutral and does not define marriage as between a man and a woman. Nor does New Mexico law prohibit same-sex marriage. Therefore, same-sex couples are capable of contracting within the law and capable of marrying in the State of New Mexico.

City Attorney Zamora’s memo references nine states and the District of Columbia, which all issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples: Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Another group of states constitutionally or statutorily defines marriage as between a man and a woman. New Mexico law does not speak directly to same-sex marriage.

Read the memorandum (PDF) and the resolution (PDF).