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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) in New Mexico:

2013-OCT: Reasons for lack of opposition to SSM.
Review of SSM developments in NM to date.

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Discussion of his item is continued from the previous essay

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2013-OCT: Some reasons for the lack of a massive outcry in 2013 against SSM from religious and social conservatives:

Reasons may include:

  • As of OCT-21, SSM has been legalized in 14 states and the District of Columbia. With each state attaining marriage equality, the next state finds it a little easier than it would otherwise be to follow suit.

  • At the time of the state Supreme Court hearing, almost 1,500 loving, committed same-sex couples in New Mexico had obtained marriage licenses. Most have probably been married. Opposite-sex married couples in the state have realized that their own marriages have not been negatively affected by these new marriages in the slightest. Many New Mexicans believe that to expand the institution of marriage to include couples who are enthusiastic about marriage can only strengthen the institution.

  • There have been six states during the previous 12 months that have legalized SSM. Three were as a result of plebiscites; two were by laws passed by the state legislatures, and one was by a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. Major efforts are currently being made through the courts and legislatures of many other states to expand marriage equality across the country.

  • In previous years, Roman Catholic Bishops in New Mexico had joined with other Catholic bishops throughout the world in strongly condemning marriage equality. Although the church still remains opposed to SSM theologically, Pope Francis recently criticized the bishops for obsessing about a range of topics all related to human sexuality. They include: same-sex marriage, people with a homosexual orientation, transgender people and transsexuals, contraception usage, and abortion access. He suggested that leaders in the Church give more emphasis to advocating help for the poor, sick, and marginalized, as mention so clearly by Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) in Matthew 25:31-46 -- the famous sheep and goats passage. In it, Yeshua explains that the sole criteria at the Final Judgment that determines whether a person is saved and goes to Heaven or is condemned and goes to Hell is whether they have helped the sick, poor, imprisoned, marginalized, etc. during their lifetime on Earth.

  • Some pro-LGBT civil rights organizations have adopted a five-year plan whose goal is the legalization of SSM across all 50 states by 2018. Many adults expect this to happen.

  • Various national polls have shown that support for SSM has increased to about 55% while opposition has lessened to about 45%, for a margin of about 10 percentage points. Support has increased about 1 to 2 percentage points a year over the past decade, while opposition has dropped by about the same amount. These shifts have been largely caused by generational factors, as older teens become voting adults and have friends who are from the LGBT community, even as elderly adults leave the voting pool for various reasons.

  • A Pew Research Center study during 2013-MAY showed that 72% of American adults believed that SSM will inevitably become available in all 50 states. Thus many people who continue to oppose marriage equality feel that they are no longer trying to stop it; they are only trying to delay its onset. More details.

  • Thirteen countries have achieved marriage equality including most of the Western Hemisphere and all but one Nordic country. The number continues to grow. Many commentators suggest that Scotland and Australia will probably be the next countries to allow same-sex marriage in the near future.

  • During 2013-JUN, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two cases involving same-sex marriage. One of their rulings, Hollingsworth v. Perry, legalized SSM in California. The other ruling, Windsor v. United States, implied that some forms of discriminate against same-sex couples are unconstitutional.

  • Religious and social conservatives seem to be altering their focus. Less attention is being paid to preventing additional states from achieving marriage equality. More attention is being paid to finding a way around state human rights legislation. Their new goal is to allow conservatives who operate business to be able to actively discriminate against the LGBT community for religious reasons without running afoul of state laws that forbid companies from discriminating against their customers on the basis of the latter's race, gender, skin color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. They often regard restrictions on their need to discriminate as a violation of their religious freedom or religious liberty.

  • It is approaching a full decade since Massachusetts legalized SSM, and no negative effects have been detected there due marriage equality. The state continues to have the lowest divorce rate in the nation.

  • Religious and social conservatives have other theories about the lack of opposition:
    • New Mexico state Senator William Sharer (R) suggested that people in the state are too busy taking care of their families, and expect their leaders -- presumably both religious and political -- to take care of what he calls the "lawbreakers." 1 The latter are county clerks who obey the state constitution, ignore tradition, ignore some of the implications of state marriage law, and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    • Colorado state Senator Kent Lambert (R) appeared on an Internet TV show titled "Pray in Jesus' Name" and said:

      "In Colorado we have a Constitutional prohibition against homosexual marriage, however (the civil unions) law turned that Constitutional provision on its head. There are no wavers or provisions for any contrary thought, whether it's religion or just people's expression of their own morality. It completely suppresses basically any ideas. It's a mind control experiment by the majority party, the Democrats, here in Colorado to force everybody, including children in schools, everything else, under penalty of law to believe in homosexual marriage." 2

      This is a common belief among religious and social conservatives which strikes terror in many people's hearts: that people who simply believe in marriage inequality will be punished by the legal system for their thoughts. That belief contradicts the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of belief. We have never observed anyone charged with a crime or offense if they simply oppose SSM as a belief. Presumably he would view that the marriage equality activity in New Mexico is simply another experiment in mind control by Democrats.


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2013- OCT-23: Review of the story so far about SSM in New Mexico:

In mid-August, Lynn Elins, the Doña Ana county clerk. realized that the state constitution guarantees equal treatment to all of its citizens while the state marriage laws only suggest that marriage be limited to one woman and one man. Since his prime allegiance as specified in his oath of office relates to the Constitution, he concluded that same-sex couples should be able to marry. He began issuing marriage licenses to such couples. Shortly thereafter, a district judge in Santa Fe county ruled that the state Constitution did not preclude marriages by same-sex couples. A district judge in Bernalillo County agreed and issued a similar ruling. 4 A total of 1,466 marriage licenses had been issued in the state by the time of the Supreme Court hearing. 5 Presumably most of the couples have been married. It is now up to the state Supreme Court to rule whether these couples have valid marriage, whether additional couples will be able to marry in the future, or whether married same-sex couples will all be forcibly divorced against their will. 4

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Jeri Clausing, "Gay Marriage In New Mexico Stirs Little Public Outcry," Huffington Post, 2013-SEP-11, at:
  2. Andrea Rael, "Kent Lambert, Colorado Senator: Democrats Use 'Mind Control' To Push Same-Sex Marriage," Huffington Post, 2013-SEP-24, at:
  3. "State Sen. Kent Lambert: Colorado's Civil Unions Bill is a 'Mind Control Experiment'," Video posted by the Right Wing Watch on You Tube at:
  4. Sunnivie Brydum, "Watch As New Mexico Supreme Court Considers Marriage Equality," The Advocate, 2013-OCT-23, at:
  5. Dan Boyd, "NM Supreme Court: No immediate ruling on same-sex marriage, but plenty of tough questions," Albuquerque Journal, 2013-OCT-23, at:

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Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > SSM > SSM sub menu > New Mexico > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > SSM > SSM sub menu > New Mexico > here

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2013-SEP-24
Latest update: 2013--SEP-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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