Same-sex couples in New Mexico file lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry

This afternoon, two same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry filed a lawsuit in the district court of Albuquerque, New Mexico after they were denied marriage licenses by the Bernalillo County Clerk. The couples explain in the lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and local New Mexico law firms, that neither the marriage statutes or state constitution explicitly prohibits same-sex couples from marrying. 

Ona Porter and Miriam Rand, who have been together for over 25 years, are one of the couples represented in the lawsuit, Griego v. Oliver. The couple lives in Albuquerque. Miriam said, "Together, Ona and I raised children, we took care of our mothers when they were dying and are currently raising our granddaughter. We are family; we love and care for one another through good times and bad. We want our community to recognize our love and commitment for what it is: a marriage."

The second couple is Kim Kiel and Rose Greigo, are live in Santa Fe. Today, Rose said, "Kim and I have already made a lifelong commitment to one another, but marriage says 'family' in a way that no other word can. It's important to us that the State of New Mexico - our home, the place where we live, work, and raised our family - recognizes and respects our relationship." 

Freedom to Marry's Director of Public Engagement Thalia Zepatos, who advises New Mexico groups working toward the freedom to marry, announced Freedom to Marry's support for the lawsuit today. She said:

This suit illustrates what New Mexico residents, and all Americans, know deep down: There's no good reason to exclude gay and lesbian couples from marriage. We hope New Mexico will embrace this opportunity to make families stronger and reaffirm its constitutional ideal of equality. Freedom to Marry is proud to be partnering with Equality New Mexico on a public education campaign to build support for marriage as the legal teams make the case for equality in the courts.

The lawsuit is being filed just days after Santa Fe Mayor David Cross and Councilor Patti Bushee announced that they would sponsor a resolution recognizing that same-sex couples are legally permitted to marry in New Mexico and that county clerks should begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.