It is a push that has been long in the making, according to ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson.
“This is an initiative that we have been working on for awhile now,” Simonson said. “And it finally came tor fruition.”
In a press conference announcing the lawsuit, ACLU of New Mexico Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives said it was their opinion that same-sex marriage was allowed in New Mexico already because of the state constitution.
“Our plaintiffs believe marriage is worth fighting for and so do we,” Schauer Ives said.
The two couples who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit also attended the press conference.
Miriam Rand and Ona Porter of Albuquerque were one couple. The other couple was Rose Griego and Kim Kiel of Santa Fe.
“Without the legal ties of marriage it would have been easy for either of us to cut and run,” Porter said of her more-than 25-year relationship with Porter. “But we didn’t.”
Kiel said they are as devoted as any other couples.
“We have survived the challenges of raising teenagers and cried when we dropped them off at college,” Kiel said.
The two couples went into the Bernalillo County clerk’s office this morning seeking a marriage license.
They were denied — but they had expected to be denied. Porter said that they were very nice in denying them, and Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver invited them into her office.
Porter said Toulouse Oliver said if she could, she would have granted them the licenses.
Those looking for a quick resolution will be disappointed, however.
Schauer Ives said she expected the legal process to take two to three years before it can work itself out. In that time, barring a significant change from the state legislature, same-sex marriage would still not be able to happen in New Mexico.
The effort was not tied to either the Santa Fe city officials saying they believe same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico or State Rep. Bill McCamley asking Attorney General Gary King for an opinion on same-sex marriage.
When asked why they did not wait for the Attorney General’s office to issue an opinion, Simonson said that the AG’s opinion does not settle law in the state — an AG’s opinion is still just a legal opinion.
In addition to ACLU of New Mexico, the national American Civil Liberties Union, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Albuquerque lawfirm Sutin, Thayer & Brown, APC, and three local attorneys are representing the two couples in the lawsuit.
Here is the lawsuit.