The news was somewhat overshadowed by a federal judge striking down Utah's ban on same-sex couples being allowed to marry the very next day but New Mexico becoming the 17th state to have marriage equality is significant.
Soon after the decision went into effect there came rumblings that Republican legislators wanted to overturn the decision by amending the state constitution to ban gay marriage.
Today's Queer Quote is Albuquerque's largest newspaper telling the state's politicians to leave marriage equality alone since the issue has been resolved by the courts:
If legalizing same-sex marriage had been put to New Mexico voters as a constitutional amendment – a route favored by Gov. Susana Martinez, who opposes such unions – it most likely would have passed. And that would have been the best route. A vote of the people circumvents the argument about the role of “activist judges.”Nice!
But courts decide controversies that come before them and that’s what they did in this case. The state high court’s ruling, affirming rulings by trial judges in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, balances the interests of gay people who want to marry and the religious interests of those who oppose it. That makes sense in predominantly Catholic New Mexico. Meanwhile, voters who think district judges and Supreme Court justices overstepped the role the courts should play can register their displeasure in the next judicial retention elections. That also is their right.But when it comes to the Legislature, opponents who have vowed to continue the fight by seeking an amendment to the state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman should start the new year by letting it go.Their only chance of success is the unlikely scenario of a constitutional amendment clearing the Legislature, winning voter approval and surviving a legal challenge. Gay marriage opponents who continue this fight will succeed only in fanning the flames of hostility and resentment. And then what happens with all the same-sex marriages on the books?The state Supreme Court has concluded that all people, no matter their sexual orientation, should be treated equally under the law when it comes to the right to marry. It’s time to recognize that and move on.