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Same-sex marriage (SSM) in New Mexico:

2013-OCT/DEC: Informal poll by TV station.
New Mexico Unites for Marriage group formed.
Financial impact on state if SSM legalized.
Former NM Attorney General supports SSM.

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Discussion of his topic is continued from the previous essay

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2013- OCT-27: Informal TV station poll:

KOAT-TV conducted a survey of its web site visitors, asking them: "Should same-sex marriage be legal in NM?"

983 votes were collected as of OCT-27:

  • 75% answered "Yes"

  • 25% answered "No:

However, these results are probably not representative of the New Mexico adult population, because they were only collected from individuals who happened to be on the KOAT web site and were sufficiently interested in the topic to make the effort to vote. Official polls by reputable polling agencies are usually much more accurate because they take steps to assure that they are sampling a random group of adults.  1

Also, if the question had been rephrased like" Should marriage in New Mexico be redefined to include same-sex couples" the results would probably have been much closer.

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2013-NOV: Supporters of marriage equality organize "New Mexico Unites for Marriage" advocacy group:

The group is led by the former state governor, Gary Johnson, a former Republican, and U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D). They expect that the state Supreme Court will legalize SSM. However, they also expect religious and social conservatives to:

  • Promote a bill in the Legislature to restrict marriage to one woman and one man, and/or

  • To raise a referendum to amend the state constitution to introduce a discrimination clause to specifically ban same-sex marriages, and/or

  • To organize a backlash against the judiciary, similar to one in Iowa when their supreme court legalized same-sex marriage.

An editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper stated:

"This group might be unnecessary. Given the backlash against equality that surely is forming, though, it’s a smart step toward preserving the rights of all New Mexico families."

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2013-NOV-18: Financial impact if SSM is approved in New Mexico:

The "Williams Institute," a think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA), concluded:

"If same-sex couples are allowed to marry in New Mexico, businesses will experience increased spending from wedding ceremonies. State and local government will gain from additional spending."

They estimate that 2,912 same-sex couples would marry during the first three years after SSMs became legal. This would bring in $15.6 million additional spending and in nearly $800,000 in additional tax revenue to the state.

The Advocate reports:

"According to the Williams Institute, New Mexico has the highest proportion of Latino/a same-sex couples among households. The state also has an estimated 1,030 same-sex couples raising nearly 2,000 children, meaning a ruling for marriage equality would impact not just individual couples but entire families."  2

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2013-NOV-18: Former NM Attorney General indicates support for marriage equality:

Former state Attorney General Patricia A. Madrid (D) wrote an article in the Albuquerque Journal on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the historic Goodridge decision by the Massachusetts that led to marriage equality in the first U.S. state. She said:

"That decision remains one of the most eloquent tributes to the institution of marriage and why government cannot deny that fundamental freedom to loving same-sex couples.

It also captures so much of what my nearly 40-year marriage has meant to me, my husband and our family, and I am not alone. Passages from the Goodridge decision have become one of the most common readings at weddings " gay and straight " across the country.

Here’s part of what Margaret Marshall wrote in the court’s decision:

'Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations … Without question, civil marriage enhances the ‘welfare of the community.’ It is a ‘social institution of the highest importance.’

Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family… Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.'

Like most of us, I’ve been lucky enough to have gay friends and family members whom I cherish. I just can’t imagine denying any of them the joy and, yes, the rights and benefits that only flow from marriage.

Some will recall that as attorney general, I stopped the Rio Rancho county clerk from issuing marriage licenses. But that had nothing to do with the constitutionality of same-sex marriage and everything to do with individual county clerks acting on their own without the law behind them.

I applaud the clerks for asking for a swift resolution by the state Supreme Court of the current checkerboard, where some counties grant marriage licenses and others do not.

While I’m hopeful the state Supreme Court will grant marriage equality in New Mexico, I believe that is where the issue should be decided. The Legislature should resist any temptation to continue to make marriage a divisive issue.

New Mexico has always been a land of freedom, of live and let live, and we all try to apply the Golden Rule " to treat others as we want to be treated ourselves.

To me, that speaks directly to the freedom to marry.

Marriage has been the cornerstone of my life, and I hope that soon in New Mexico, our gay and lesbian friends, neighbors and family members can have that same mix of celebration and security."  3

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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. "KOAT Albuquerque" home page, at: The survey will probably be a temporary posting.
  2. Alex Davidson, "Same-Sex Marriage in New Mexico Would Benefit Thousands of Families," The Advocate, 2013-NOV-18, at:
  3. Patricia A. Madrid, "NM Supreme Court should settle marriage issue," Albuquerque Journal, 2014-DEC-18, at:
  4. "Leading child welfare advocates endorse the freedom to marry in New Mexico," New Mexico Unites for Marriage, 2013-DEC-10, at:
  5. Kirsten Andersen, "New Mexico groups promote same-sex “marriage as a benefit to kids, ignoring the evidence," LifeSiteNews, 2013-DEC-13, at:
  6. "Join us at a Decision Day Rally!," New Mexico Unites for Marriage, 2013-NOV-26, at: at:

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2013-OCT-17
Latest update: 2013-DEC-16
Author: B.A. Robinson

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