Eight of New Mexico's 33 counties have already been granting same-sex couples marriage licenses since August.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in New Mexico after the state's highest court ruled it unconstitutional to refuse a marriage license to lesbian or gay couples.
The New York Times reports that the New Mexico Supreme Court voted unanimously in the ruling that now makes the state the 17th along with the District of Columbia to allow same-sex marriage.
“Today’s decision is a powerful affirmation that same-sex couples are equal members of New Mexico’s diverse culture and must be given the same legal protections and respect as other families,” Shannon Price Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement. Her organization along with the American Civil Liberties Union were responsible for bringing the case to court.
Arguments for the case were heard on Oct. 23. In the written opinion on the case, the five justices were agreement that the same-sex couples are guaranteed marriage rights under the New Mexico Constitution's equal-protection clause. By the time justices heard arguments in October, eight country clerks were already granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the AP reports. The New Mexico A.C.L.U chapter says that more than 1,000 couples have been married in New Mexico due to those licenses that were granted ahead of the ruling.
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