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|Posted on March 30, 2015 at 11:35 AM|
New Mexico recognizes marriage between same-sex people. Our New Mexico Supreme Court "legalized" same-sex marriage in December of 2013. SeeGriego v. Oliver.
The Court said in an unanimous decision that it is unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
"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," Justice Edward L. Chavez wrote in the decision.
Several counties in New Mexico had already been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, setting up the state Supreme Court to decide whether it was legal or not. New Mexico becomes the 17th state to legalize gay marriage.
The United States Supreme Court is expected to decide upon the legality of same-sex marriage in April 2015.
All that being said, in New Mexico the same set of laws providing for divorce and child custody apply to same-sex marriages and the same laws which govern custody will govern custody for same-sex couples. The 2012 case, Chatterjee v. King, provides among many things that parties in same sex relationships have the same rights to petition the Court for parentage, custody, and child support, as any other parent. This case is huge because when coupled with the Griego case, LGBT people enjoy the exact same legal schema for marriage, divorce, and child rearing as anyone else.
Additionally, nothing within the New Mexico adoption law prohibits same-sex couples from adopting. I have personally witnessed within the last sixty calendar days from today, a same-sex couple adopt two young children. These boys were part of the foster system for years and these two men took great care of them as fosters.
Here's some statistics. I realize it's not the freshest numbers but it's what I could find on point.
In April 2008, the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law, using data from the United States Census Bureau issued a "Census Snapshot" that concluded, "While in many respects New Mexico's same-sex couples look like married couples, same-sex couples with children have fewer economic resources to provide for their families than married parents and lower rates of home ownership."
Analyzing census data on same-sex unmarried-partner households, the report determined that:
Based upon my experience, I can personally attest to the fact that without same-sex couples and gay people volunteering themselves as foster parents, New Mexico child welfare would be in a far worse place. If you have any questions, please contact me.